Loire red review: 9 wines from Chinon

This is the third part of my series on the red wines of the Loire. These wines – all from Cabernet Franc – really impressed.

Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux 2018 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. This is really structured and intense with firm tannins and good acidity. There’s some sour cherry and blackcurrant, with a hint of earth and spice. Real intensity to this wine with a hint of volatility in the background, which is just enough to add interest but not too much to distract. Lively, complex and vivid with hints of charcoal, tar and spice on the finish. I really like this. 94/100

Charles Joguet Chinon Les Charmes 2017 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. Organic. This is very fresh and fine with lovely bright raspberry and redcurrant fruit. It’s very fresh and pure with real focus, and fine tannins and good acidity. So fresh, but no green notes at all. Good concentration and purity here, with a compact nature. Impressive. This could age really well. 94/100

Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses 2009 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. This is pure, youthful, fresh and supple, and quite remarkable for an almost 12 year old wine. Fine, savoury edged cherry and plum fruit on the nose with a brooding perfume. The palate is fine and fresh with raspberry and cherry fruit and some fine notes of gravel and tar, with a bit of green leaf freshness. This is quite lovely, and has evolved slowly in an elegant direction. 94/100

La Perruche Chinon Cabernet Franc 2017 Loire, France
13% alcohol. Chalky clay slopes with sandy soils. 18 months in barrel. This is chalky and gravelly, and it’s classical Cabernet Franc with real refinement. So pure and supple with nice grip. All gravel and chalk and some grainy structure, with lovely supple cherry and plum fruit. This is medium bodied and so, so drinkable. 94/100

Couly Dutheil Chinon Clos de L’Echo 2017 Loire, France
14.5% alcohol. This is ripe, rich, generous and structured with dense black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. It has lovely depth and richness with smooth tannins. There’s a rounded richness to the fruit, with some nice sweetness. Great concentration and depth. Finishes with some fine chalky notes. 93/100

Domaine Fabrice Gasnier Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2018 Loire, France
12.8% alcohol. This is biodynamically farmed Cabernet Franc. It’s aromatic, quite dark and gravelly on the nose with a grainy, clay-like edge to the black cherry and blackberry fruit. The palate is fresh, detailed and quite elegant. There’s some firmness under the sleek black fruits with finely grained chalky texture. A really lovely expression of Cabernet Franc. 93/100 (£17.95 Trelawney Wines in UK)

Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses 2015 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. 100% Cabernet Franc, farmed organically. Clay limestone soils, and aged for just over a year in 4000 litre foudres. This is finely aromatic with hints of stones and herbs as well as grainy red and black cherry fruit. In the mouth this is mid-weight, expressive and elegant with a sweet core to the cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruit coupled with notes of herbs, gravel and tar. It’s very refined, though, with good balance between the sweet fruit and the herby, savoury notes. 92/100

Domaine de L’R Le Canal des Grands Pièces Chinon 2019 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. Biodynamic farming. This has a dark, gravelly nose with a hint of reduction and vivid cherry and blackcurrant fruit. The palate is fresh and direct, with lovely acidity, a bit of grippy tannin, and vivid red and black fruits. It’s direct, elegant, and has a bit of spicy, almost tingly grip on the finish. Notes of well integrated green and chalk, too. 92/100 (UK agent Bibendum, retail £13.99)

Sauvion ‘Dilection’ Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2018 Loire, France
14.5% alcohol. Château de Cleray is owned by Grand Chais, the big French wine company. This is a special cuvée, from clay/limestone soils, and is 100% Cabernet Franc, packaged in a rather grand bottle. It shows ripe black fruits, with some hints of clove, pepper and cedar, showing a gravelly, chalky undercurrent and some grip on the finish. A nice savoury, firm expression of Cabernet Franc, but also showing some sweet fruit. 88/100

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