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Chic Chenin And Captivating Cab Franc

For our next Quarantine Support Case, I would like to focus on two favourite varietals of mine, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc! Grown in the right terroir, with the correct management, they are undoubtedly capable of producing some of the world's finest wines.

The magic of both varieties has remained a mystery to many, probably because there were sadly too many poor examples in the past when over-cropped Cabernet Franc resulted in wines with unflattering vegetal notes of green pepper and under-ripe Chenin was far from improved by over chaptalization.

The sensitivity of the Cabernet Franc, enables it to beautifully reflect the terroir and it has the capability of offering great longevity and incredible finesse. Chenin Blanc, of course, is undeniably one of the most amazingly versatile varieties. Producing stunning dry wines, with steely, mineral-driven examples, to equal the finest dry Rieslings and other, fuller-bodied, complex dry wines more akin to a great Burgundy. By contrast, the late picked grapes, often influenced with noble rot, rival the most exquisite Sauternes and then, of course, it also produces stylish sparkling wines.

Due to the care needed, sourcing exciting examples at an accessible price, can still present a challenge. The selection below offers a great introduction. These are beautifully balanced, delicious examples, perfect to enjoy at any time, but particularly during the summer weather, which we will hopefully be enjoying over the coming months.

Our favourite Anjou Rouge, from the talented Stephane Branchereau of Domaine des Forges, makes a return in this case. Stephane is one of the most talented and highly respected producers of the wonderfully luscious, Coteaux du Layon wines. However, he also produces a range of really expressive and beautifully balanced dry white and red wines, which offer truly exceptional value! His Anjou Rouge captures all the charms of the pure black fruits of a youthful Cabernet Franc. Similarly, from the illustrious Chateau de la Roulerie, a neighbouring property in St. Aubin de Luigne, with an equal reputation for exquisite sweet wines of the Layon, comes the tantalizing, P'tit Chenin. This is a charmingly aromatic and refreshingly vibrant wine, with a perfect balance between the mouth-watering fruit and zesty acidity.

Another exciting new addition to our portfolio, are the amazing wines of the incredibly talented, Loic Mahe. Loic is one of the new stars in Savennieres, the appellation, on the opposite bank of the Loire to the Layon. The Vents d'Ouest, (Cabernet Franc) and Petit Moulin, (Chenin Blanc) are produced from grapes from his vineyards within the appellation and grapes from his own and neighbouring vineyards from outside Savennieres. The quality of Loic's winemaking is immediately apparent here. Although instantly appealing, this stylish duo offer an extra dimension and sophistication.

Moving further along the Loire, we come to the historic town of Saumur. We have introduced the fabulously stylish Cremants of Arnaud Lambert in our 'Bring Back The Fizz' selection, but Arnaud also produces some of the region's greatest examples of a still Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. With a true passion for Terroir, Arnaud crafts a range of single-vineyard Chenin and Cabernet Franc, from his prime sited vineyards in Breze and St. Cyr en Bourg. Although at the entry point of the range, the 2018 Saumur Blanc, St. Cyr en Bourg and 2018 Saumur Champigny have a fabulous depth and intensity. Whilst still possessing a wonderfully harmonious balance, these wines possess a serious structure and complexity and are true vins de terroir.

The Chic Chenin and Captivating Cabernet Franc selection is available in either a Six Bottle Case, containing 1 bottle of each of the following wines @ £94.55 - Less Quarantine Support Discount = £85.00 or
Twelve Bottle Case, containing 2 bottles of each of the following wines @ £189.10 - Less Quarantine Support Discount = £170.00

2018 ANJOU ROUGE, Domaine des Forges

Stephane Branchereau's lovely Anjou Rouge is a delicious and delightfully harmonious, Cabernet Franc with super black fruits. Vinified in tank it has a lovely purity of fruit and vibrant character, perfect for a summer lunch.

2017 P'TIT CHENIN, Chateau de la Roulerie

This is a super example of the instantly accessible and beautifully balanced, to enjoy every day. Fresh, vibrant aromatic bouquet with delicious pear fruit and refreshingly crisp, citrus acidity. Delightful.

VENTS D'OUEST, Loic Mahe

100% Cabernet Franc. There is no heavy extraction here, merely an infusion of a 3 to 6-day maceration. This gentle touch results in a wine brimming with fragrant black, berry fruits, lovely intensity, focus and freshness. Glorious balance and finesse.

PETIT MOULIN, Loic Mahe

100% Chenin Blanc, produced from the young vines from Savennieres and from grapes grown outside the AC. This is a beautifully pure, dry Chenin, with fabulous balance of saline acidity. Really classy.

2017 SAUMUR BLANC, St. Cyr En Bourg, Arnaud Lambert

Ripe, pure, lovely, intense, zesty fruit and mineral bouquet. Dry on the palate with good depth, body and structure. Super intensity again. Lovely ripe fruit, vibrant mineral notes and clean, zesty acidity. Great balance and length, with sherbet/lemon notes on the finish,

2018 SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY, Arnaud Lambert

Lovely purity on the nose with aromatic floral fragrance and sweet berry fruit. Pretty open fruit on the palate. Rich, ripe, berries and uplifting acidity. Great poise and balance. Very harmonious, but with backbone. Long, stylish finish.

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