February 3rd, 2012

Sarah Goes To the Loire Valley, again.

What is terrior? That elusive element that cannot be defined but gives so many wines their character. If it does not exist as a concrete component of a wine then why bother sourcing, touting, and celebrating vineyard sites and soils. Yes, aspect and exposure are part of the equation. The soil of certain places sets wines apart from its neighbors. And, with that we studied Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley this week. Can these wines be described without using the term chalk whether its a reference to the tannins, aroma, or taste? After being open for some time the characteristic cassis flavors came forward to balance out the mineral heavy early notes.   The New Zealand example was more plush with plummy fruit and subdued mineral tones.

2005 Marc Bredif Chinon: rich, modern style, cassis, chalk, brambly, balancing acidity

2005 Baudry Dutour Perrieres: a little tired with subtle flavors of chalk, plum, and tomato

2009 Le Grand Clere Ricard: rich, floral, chalk, primary nose and palate, with air the cassis flavors came forward

2009 Damien Lorieaux Gravieres Tuffeaux: dry chalky tannins with flavors of pomegranate and plum

2007 Pyramid Valley Howell Vineyard Cabernet Franc: plummy,rich with  delicate floral and tomato notes on the nose