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K&L Staff Recommendations
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St. Nicolas de Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire, which are unmarred by the intrusion of oak. He was also the first producer in the appellation to begin domaine bottling. These days, Joel makes wines with the help of his son-in-law, Thierry Foltzenlogel. Their "Expression" comes from vines up to 35 years old, planted on a hillside with clay and limestone. The terroir is perfect for a youthful expression of Cabernet Franc that's immediately drinkable and fresh, with... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. Drink now. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: A wine with tiny, long-lasting bubbles, Deligeroy's Cremant de Loire Rosé is a lovely gleaming pink, enticing with a delicate, nervy nose and aromas of fresh red fruit. It's lively on the attack and has lovely aromatic intensity and brightness. Well-balanced in the mouth, this sparkler is enhanced by a fresh but subtle finish. The wine is stored for at least 12 months on racks in freestone cellars before disgorging to make incomparably fine bub... Read More »
Always a favorite value-priced Chinon, perfect for everyday drinking. The color of polished garnets, it has bright red and black fruit aromas and flavors, a hint of a violet and pepper, and a vein of spice threaded carefully through from start to finish. Perfect with charcuterie, cool weather braises or grilled lamb chops with gremolata.
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Delicate scents of heather and elegant citrus notes carry a kiss of sweetness through this wine. The flavors are all withheld, the finish quiet and pretty, focused on mineral and floral notes. This should develop well over the next several years." (4/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The cherry-colored regular 2012 Chinon Cabernet Franc has a lovely clear and fresh acerbic cherry aroma mixed with raspberries. It is a light to medium-bodied, fruit-driven, silky textured, refreshing red wine with a brisk acidity, ideal for a summer lunch at high noon or with some snacks in the afternoo ...Read More »
This is a fresh, snappy berry-driven rosé with delicate floral notes. It's bright and crisp, delicious with or without food. Domaine les Pins has been family run for five generations. They are a small artisanal producer that oversees every stage of the production from start to finish themselves. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustainable farming, and each and every vine gets special attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are... Read More »
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "This nicely defined, clean-as-can-be middleweight gets very high marks for its balance and its tight line of lingering, raspberry-like, tea-accented fruit, and it stands apart in the varietal crowd as being a little less brawny and a little more refined than is the norm. It is enjoyable right now and will find an easy place at the table, but it will keep comfortably and should grow a bit thanks to its very careful construction." (4/2015)89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Cabernet Franc Two-Fourteen is the clone, which is of Loire Valley origin. A real juicy, crunchy style of wine ...Read More »
This is produced all in stainless steel, solely from Cabernet Franc that is grown on a limestone slope. It has a rich ruby color and excellent structure. A nice fruity style of Chinon, this value-priced wine has a subtle peppery spice, ripe dark berries and a soft, chalky mineral character that really makes the fruity core come to life. There are rich tannins on the finish and a juicy freshness throughout. I swear to you that you can actually taste the glow of the summertime sun right in this bottle. Absolutely stellar while enjoying a burger right off ... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Features dark olive and singed juniper notes around the core of black cherry and plum fruit. A light charcoal hint holds the finish, though the structure is modest overall. Drink now. 60 cases imported. (Web Only - 2015)" K&L Notes: From vines over 25 years old planted mid-slope in soils that are composed of clay and sand. Aged in neutral barrels and tank, this beautifully balanced Cabernet Franc has a dark, brooding nose of plums, minerals and some berries. Fairly thick on the palate, the ripe tannins are quite present, but also coated by a fairly large dose of red... Read More »
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire. All his hand-harvested cuvees are based on vine age and soil composition, and the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel with a light fining and no filtration before bottling. The Vieilles Vignes, from a single plot planted in 1934, has power, depth and grace; this, their flagship wine, will improve for the next 7-9 years but can be enjoyed now for those of you who like a mouthful of wine.
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire. Everything is hand-harvested, cuvées are based on vine age and soil composition, and the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel before being bottled without filtration.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a solid, firm and ripe wine. With its dry structure and still youthful tannins, it has weight and the potential to age. The smoky aromas and fragrant berry fruits are bursting out of the glass, giving a ripe wine that should be drunk after 2016." (3/2015) K&L Notes: A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fruits, this Cabernet Franc is nicely layered on the palate with brightness running throughout and just a touch of smoke mixed in with some purple fruits. Soft waves of mineral with a nice soft tannin make this a true delight to drink. Domaine le... Read More »
91 points Wine & Spirits: "Bretêche is higher up the slope than Galichets (recommended below), its soils layering clay and limestone over tuffeau. The Caslot family ferments their wines without added yeast and ages them for two or more years in 400- to 500-liter oak casks. This is an ambitious wine, powerfully extracted, clean in its highlights of blue fruit, warm and ripe in the finish. It’s a mouthwatering, juicy pleasure, suited to aging or to decanting for roast meats." (4/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Medium ruby. Floral aromas of redcurrant, graphite and tobacco. Supple on the attack, then juicy on t ...Read More »
This is an everyday Cabernet Franc from organic and biodynamic growers Pierre and Catherine Breton. (Their name, coincidentally, is also the local word for Cabernet Franc.) Made from their younger vines grown on gravelly soils, this is the perfect introduction to this producer's range--youthful, with bright cherry fruit, spicy black pepper and savory herbs. Delicious!
90 points Antonio Galloni: "Glass-staining ruby. Complex, seductively perfumed aromas of cherry, cassis, pipe tobacco and potpourri, along with a smoky topnote. Juicy, spicy and penetrating, showing very good clarity to its dark berry, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors. The intense, clinging, smoke-tinged finish shows a hint of floral pastilles and suave, slow-building tannins." (6/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A blend of 58% Cabernet Franc and 42% Merlot, the 2012 Justification was aged 19 months in 47% new French oak. It's an impressive, full-bodied, nicely structured Bordeaux blend that gives up ...Read More »
Recently seeking Biodynamic certification, Catherine and Pierre Breton are the "real life bon vivants vignerons of lore," according to importer Kermit Lynch.
An average vine age of fifty years old and from the outstanding vintage of 2009 - especially good for Cab Franc. Ripe fruit with good depth and concentration throughout. Ripe tannins and fantastic length. Drinking nice now but, can be cellared for many more years. Over all, pretty wine with a darker core. (Eric Story, Loire Buyer)
Good, honest Chinon in a box - it doesn't get much better than this! We love this fruity, easy-drinking Cabernet Franc from husband and wife team Pascal and Beatrice Lambert. Not only is it organically certified and free of sulphur additives, but it is elegantly balanced and a great match for a variety of foods, from light picnic fare and cheeses to heartier smoked and grilled meat dishes.
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark, dense ruby. Brooding aromas of black cherry, mint, licorice and tar. Supple, pliant and discreetly sweet on the palate, with very good depth and verve to the boysenberry flavor. Still withdrawn in style, this Cabernet Franc finishes with serious subtle tannins and a late note of licorice reminiscent of a Saint-Emilion wine." (12/2014) K&L Notes: One of Chinon's oldest and most famous sites, Clos du Chêne Vert is located in the actual town of Chinon on the bank of the Vienne. It is a two-hectare vineyard on a very steep slope with southwest exposure. Joguet's vi... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Quite dark, featuring roasted bay leaf and charcoal flavors running through a core of dark plum and blackberry fruit. Stays fresh despite the profile, with a sweet tapenade note enlivening the finish. Not for everyone." (8/2013) K&L Notes: Savory Loire Cabernet Franc from an historic property (the château dates to the 11th century).
Wine Spectator: "Offers a racy feel, with graphite framing the black cherry, tobacco and sage notes, melding pleasantly through the finish. (Web Only—2013)" K&L Notes: Yet another fantastic example of what happens when you have a winemaker who cares about the land, the vines, the region and the ancient craft which they were born to do. Frédéric Mabileau has just 27 hectares under vine across the appellations of St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur and Anjou in the Loire Valley, all farmed organically since 2007. Frederic works mostly with his passion varietal, Cabernet Franc w... Read More »
Thibaud Boudignon is a young, talented rising star winemaker in the Loire. He is currently the winemaker at Château Soucherie, where his integrating winemaking approach and shift towards 100% organic practices has resulted in great success. The winery allows him to produce a small amount of wine under his own label on the side, including this crisp, mineral-driven rose. Dry, with delicate red and black fruit notes and hints of herb, this will pair with a variety of dishes and is especially perfect for a rustic picnic.
Inventory: San Francisco
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St. Nicolas de Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of cabernet franc in the Loire. All is hand harvested, cuvees are based on vine age and soil composition. Then the wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel, with a light fining and no filtration before bottling.
The Château du Hureau is located in the small town of Dampierre sur Loire, about four miles east of Saumur and 15 miles west of Chinon. The Château itself is an impressive sight, with its 18th-century Mansard roof and octagonal tower topped by a boar-headed weathercock, from which the domaine takes its name--a hureau is an old, solitary wild boar. Behind the Château sits the winery carved out of the limestone cliffs in the 13th century and overlooking the Loire river. For wine lovers, the cave is even more impressive than the Château, with numerous paths... Read More »
Catherine and Pierre Breton are the real life bon vivants vignerons of lore. They are passionate about what they do, they enjoy sharing it with others, and they entertain with a generosity and charm. That they make great wine with such integrity makes our appreciation of them complete. The Bretons farm eleven hectares of vines just east of Bourgueil in the village of Restigné. They produce Chinon and Bourgueil, as well as a bit of Vouvray, creating honest wines for both early consumption and longer aging. The Bretons first introduced biodynamic practices... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "Pure and fresh, with a savory note framing the white cherry and strawberry core notes. Offers a sleek finish. (Web-2015)" K&L Notes: This is a fresh, snappy berry-driven rose with delicate floral notes. It's bright and crisp, delicious with or without food. Domaine les Pins has been family run for five generations. They are a small artisanal producer which oversees every stage of the production from start to finish themselves. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustain... Read More »
100% Cabernet Franc from Chinon, Philippe Pichard-Jourdan has farmed biodynamically since 2000. This rosé is aromatic and marked by notes of fresh wild strawberry with a clay-like minerality.
The Domaine's masterpiece, the Clos de l'Echo, lies within this calcareous clay soil and is the stuff of legend. This walled vineyard and it's castle earned it's nomenclature from the echo sent back by the castle walls. Once owned by the great French satirist Francois Rabelais and his family, the vineyard was purchased in 1952 by the Couly-Dutheil family and re-planted the following year. The Clos de l'Echo is a wine of grand proportion, complex, structured, and very ageworthy. This 2002 is a legendary wine in the making, with great concentration and per... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is one of the few Cab Francs in California that works on its own. It’s really a gorgeous wine, showing the full-bodied firmness of Cabernet Sauvignon, but without the tannic weight and density. The flavors veer toward scrumptious red cherries, red currants, milk chocolate and anise, with a dry, complex finish. Lovely with a fine grilled steak and rosemary new potatoes." (7/2009)92 points Wine Spectator: "Elegantly balanced, rich and full-bodied, with deep, supple black currant, herb, cedar and spice. Tight, focused and structured, ending with a long, complex finish." (6/2009) K&L Notes: Th... Read More »
Cédric Garreau began his modest 2.7 acre domaine in 2010 with a commitment to organic farming. That year, he secured two parcels of established, organically farmed vineyards. The Gar'O'Vin Anjou Rouge is 100% Cabnernet Franc which was farmed with small yields of 30 hl/ha and an emphasis on quality. It was macerated and fermented on native yeasts for a period of three weeks with no chapitalization before being aged for 10 months in barrique. It offers an aromatic profile with red fruit and excellent mouthfeel and fine tannins.
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "A structured wine with tannins from wood aging, as well as rich blackberry fruit. The wine has fruit and structural intensity, layering spice and juiciness atop a dry core." (10/2013) K&L Notes: The fruit for the "Clos les Pins," as the name suggests, comes from the walled vineyard which is just right outside the winery's doors. I was lucky enough to taste this limited bottling while visiting this last spring, and I had to have it for the shop! Darker fruit up front with a nicely knit surrounding structure and sweet tannins on the finish. As per the house style, real... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "Dark ruby. Wild aromas of raspberry, mocha and pistachio. Supple on the attack, showing a restrained sweetness to the flavors of red fruits, graphite and vanilla. The tannins are slightly herbal but avoid turning dry on the finish. Almost Beaujolais-like in style, this Cabernet Franc will only be released next year. (JP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: The is a delicious Cabernet Franc from the Domaine de Saint Just, established by Yves Lambert and his son Arnaud in 1996. The organically farmed vines are planted in iron-rich soils that lend the wine minerality, power and spici... Read More »
In 2008, the famed Loire Valley vigneron Jo Pithon, his wife Isabelle, Isabelle's son Joseph Paillé and his wife Wendy, joined together to start Pithon-Paillé--a négociant not unlike those in the Rhône Valley or Burgundy. "Grand Monts" is an organically grown, ripe, full yet fresh Loire Cab Franc. From the domaine: "This Bourgueil comes from slopes descending into the Loire River close to the town of Benais. This is considered the most beautiful terroir of the appellation. Old vines grow on thin top soil on top of tuffeau. The wine is deep, concentrated ... Read More »
From a gravelly terroir right next to the Bretons’ little house and winery, Galichets was harvested at 12° natural alcohol. Showing marked minerality, impressive purity, and a core of delicious ripe blackberry fruit, enjoy this organically grown and vinified Cabernet Franc from one of the Loire masters. It will drink well for several years, but there is no reason to deprive yourself of its pleasures now.
Inventory: Redwood City
In 2008, the famed Loire Valley vigneron Jo Pithon, his wife Isabelle, Isabelle's son Joseph Paillé and his wife Wendy, joined together to start Pithon-Paillé--a négociant not unlike those in the Rhône Valley or Burgundy. The "Dessus Narçay" is sourced from 50-year-old Cabernet Franc vines, in the process of being converted to organic farming, in the commune of Cravant les Coteaux. A bright, vibrant Cab Franc from Chinon, a great picnic red for cold cuts.
Inventory: Redwood City
Joël Taluau is a fabulous grower in St. Nicolas de Bourgueil known for making some of the purest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the Loire, unmarred by the intrusion of oak--which he hasn't used in production since 1986. He was also the first producer in the appellation to begin domaine bottling. The Vieilles Vignes, from a single plot of Cabernet Franc planted in 1934, is prized for its power, depth and grace. This flagship wine is meant to age, and the large format bottle will have helped to preserve freshness. Enjoy now!
100% Cabernet Franc for the lover, enthusiast and collector of Cab Franc. Only being produced in superior years, this comes from 80 - 100 year old vines planted in the clay and limestone earth that is Saumur Champigny. The harvest is 100% de-stemmed then vinified in cement for 20-30 days before being moved into barrique (mostly old but some new) for up to 6 months and then bottle aged deep within the safe cool surroundings of a limestone cellar. Although fairly tight this wine shows the seductive beauty Cab Franc can have. Lots of perfumed violets and fr... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Right Bank (67% Cabernet Franc and 33% Merlot) has been a perennial winner from this Conn Valley vineyard since it made its debut as Gus Anderson’s homage to the Right Bank wines of Pomerol and St.-Emilion. The dense ruby/purple-colored 2012 Proprietary Red Blend Right Bank offers mocha, white chocolate, plum, black cherry and blackcurrant characteristics, medium to full body, and an opulent, round, seductive style. This fleshy, complex red can be drunk young or cellared for 12-15+ years. (RP)" (10/2014)92 points Antonio Galloni: "A big step up from the 2011, the 2012 Right Bank ...Read More »
Rocfontaine's Saumur Champigny rouge is sourced from 15-20 year-old Cabernet Franc vines planted in calcareous clay. Grapes are hand-harvested, and the individually managed lots are fermented quickly to extract a generous fruit profile without hard tannins. The result is a fine Loire red, which happens to be wonderfully drinkable and food-friendly in its youth.
A glowing pink Cabernet Franc icewine, something sweetly different from Canada's icewine specialist. Originally developed in the cool wine regions of Germany in the mid-1700s, Icewine is ideally suited for Canada's Niagara peninsula and the Okanagan Valley's climatic conditions. The grapes are left on the vine well into the winter months. The resulting freezing and thawing of the grapes dehydrates the fruit, and concentrates the sugars, acids, and extracts in the berries, thereby intensifying the flavours and adding complexity to the wine made from it. ... Read More »
100% Cabernet Franc. Biodynamically farmed and certified organic. La Folie comes from plots in the village of Champigny itself with vines ranging from 15-50 years in age. Clay and limestone soils. Hand-harvested. Native yeast fermentation in 50 hl concrete vats for 4 weeks. Aged for 12 months in half 38 hl foudre and half in 4-5 year old barriques. Bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This goes thru a long cold soak in small amphora and then also fermented and aged (12mnths) in amphora. Clos de l'Elu is an older property which was taken over in 2008 by Thomas Carsin and Gregoire du Bouexic. It is located in the small village of Saint Aubin de Luigne not too far from the city of Angers. Under the inspiration of growers such as Jo Pithon they have converted all of their holdings over to biodynamic farming and continue to acquire vineyards and convert as they grow. These wines are at the higher end of what the all too often Anjou region ... Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "I loved the penetrating aromatics and floral, blueberry, and menthol notes of the deep ruby/purple-colored 2002 Cabernet Franc. The blend is actually 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Merlot. The flamboyant fragrance jumps from the glass of this sweetheart of a wine. There is tremendous concentration and intensity of flavor, yet the wine is light on its feet, with a surreal, ethereal flavor profile. Cabernet Franc can do some special things in California, and it is good to see this wine perform so well. Already drinkable, it should last for 10-15 years. (RP) ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Notes about the Winery: "The Domaine de l'R is a fairly new, it was founded by Frédéric Sigonneau in 2007, and it is already counted by Chinon amateurs among the ones where cabernet franc shines. Frédéric and his parents have been living next door to Bernard Baudry, he was a childhood friend of Mathieu, Bernard's son. He then worked at Fabrice Gasnier, an organic (and now biodynamic) vigneron 4 km away. Then at the end of the wine school in 2002 he went to Spain where he stayed 2 years, working on biodynamicly-farmed ungrafted vineyards. Back in France... Read More »
From the Winery; This Cabernet Franc is black cherry red in color with aromas of blueberry jam and white pepper spiciness. With wonderful ripeness in 2012 we were able to make one of our best Cabernet Francs. The wine is very lush across the palate with a silky softness and sweet impression of ripe blueberry fruit. Tannins are very moderate with a nice light texture in the mid palate. This is an easy drinking Cabernet Franc, rich and complete and very enjoyable. 76% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
Wine Spectator: "This is about as big as a Loire red gets. It has a deep, young color, open aromas of smoke, meat and plums, and it's firm on the palate, with plenty of plum and tobacco flavors. It's distinctive and rich." (10/1994)
Inventory: San Francisco