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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Spectator: "A soft sparkler, featuring cherry, peach and strawberry notes, with a pillowy finish. (JM, Web—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 bubbles. The fr... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice and #85 of Top 100 of 2015* This rich, structured wine is packed with both firm tannins and rich red fruits. Still young, it has all the makings of a dense, balanced wine that will reflect the great fruit of the vintage. Age this smoky, full-bodied wine and drink from 2017. (RV)" (11/2015) Wine Spectator: "Fresh, with a bright core of black cherry and damson plum fruit flavors backed by light black olive and violet notes. Modest in scale but with very nice purity. Drink now through 2018. (JM, Web-2016)" K&L Notes: A rich ruby red with notes of violets and red berry fr... 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, 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 »
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. They have roughly 30 hectares of Cabernet Franc spread out through the Bourgueil and St-Nicolas de Bourgueil regions. They practice sustainable farming, and each and every vine gets singular attention throughout the year. Vines of an average age of 25 years are planted in s... Read More »
(last of vintage) Noblaie's rosé is produced from younger Cabernet Franc vines, which are planted in the deeper soils at the base of the hillside vineyard. It has a clear and smooth pink color, deep, rich aromas of watermelon and cranberry and loads of lovely fresh red fruits on the palate.
Made from Cabernet Franc grapes grown on a clay-limestone hillside, this fruity and aromatic wine drinks wonderfully, even when the wine is very young. The Cabernet France grapes are completely destemmed and vatted for 12-18 days, depending on the year. Fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats. The result is is an elegant, round and easy-to-drink wine that smells of violets and tastes of heaven!
98 points James Suckling: "Incredible depth of aromas of black mushrooms, wet earth, and dark fruits. Full body, super silky tannins and a refined finish. It lasts for minutes on the palate. A thought-provoking wine that makes you think. Glorious. Drink now or hold for ages." (5/2016) 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The nose of the 2012 Gran Enemigo Gualtallary Single Vineyard almost made me fall from my chair. It is the expression of elegance and austerity coupled with strong minerality. It is mostly Cabernet Franc from a very chalky vineyard in Gualtallary at 1,430 meters altitude that fermented together with a ...Read More »
Jancis Robinson: "Organic farming. Intense crimson. Peppery, crunchy dark-red fruit, just a little smoky. A fine texture - silky but dry. Gentle and fresh, subtle. (JH)" (3/2016) K&L Notes: 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 th... Read More »
91 points Wine Spectator: "Strikingly complex, dense and aromatic, with a rich core of vivid, graphite-laced dark berry, loamy earthy, underbrush and melted chocolate. Gains depth and nuance on the finish. (Web-2016)" Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* One of the few producers to take Cabernet Franc seriously, Lang & Reed has here come up with a very solid version that takes the middle ground as far as forthright fruit, extraction and evident tannin are concerned. It does not lack for the latter, but it is not at all abrasive, and its inclinations to fresh raspberries and mildly creamy oak afford lots of i ...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.
Maison Couly-Dutheil is undeniably one of the finest estates of Chinon, with eighty acres of prime Chinon vineyards as well as seven hectares of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. The estate's Chinon holdings are impressive indeed as they spread over three distinct Chinon terroirs: Sand and gravel along the Vienne River which produce light and fruit driven wines, siliceous slopes and plateaus which impart a certain finesse and elegance to Chinon; and finally clay and limestone slopes which produce Chinon's most serious and profound wines. The Domaine's masterp... Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Impressively saturated ruby-red color. Complex aromas of black raspberry, kirsch, Valrhona chocolate, smoke and gunflint. Tactile and quite concentrated; really dense with extract. Ripe acidity gives the deep flavors lovely clarity. A real fruit essence: the wine somewhat chewy tannins and alcohol are hidden by fruit. (ST)" (12/1998) K&L Notes: 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 w... Read More »
"A cabernet franc that showcases some of the higher tannic potential of the grape varietal but in a low-alcohol style that works perfectly for hotter weather and heavier dishes. Ruby in color this wine has a nose of red fruit including red plum, red currant and raspberry; there is also violet and a handful of fall green vegetable which lays underneath cedar and a dash of vanilla baking spice. On the palate grippy, earthy, medium-plus tannin shows on the attack ahead of the muted red fruit which emerges mid-palate towards a chalky finish. The wine is med... Read More »
This 100-percent Cabernet Franc was farmed biodynamically and organically in one of the world's best growing spots for the grape. Vines range from 15 to 50 years in age and are planted in sandy clay and Turonian-era limestone. Extra attention is paid to select the very best fruit by hand, then fermentation takes place with native yeasts. After 8 months of aging in concrete vats, the wine is bottled without fining or filtering. This careful winemaking allows the purest expression of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc to shine through.
From Joguet's best gravelly parcels, this is a dense wine for the appellation. Very ripe red fruits dominate the aroma, and already one perceives some typical animal notes in this full-bodied wine. A cuvée tres gourmand with lots of vinosity that could age.
Wine Enthusiast: "Cigar-box aromas and a perfumed, fruity character give this wine a typical Cabernet Franc character. It is structured, with some firm tannins at the core, surrounded by ripe red fruits and fresh acidity. The wine is ready to drink. (RV)" (2/2016)
From one of the appellation's most outstanding producers, imported by the inimitable Kermit Lynch, who says: "Not only does he have the talent to make delicious and consistent wines, vintage to vintage, but he is also fortunate enough to have vineyard land that showcases many of the varied soil types of the appellation." The Grézeaux vineyard is rich in gravelly soils, with vines that average 65 years of age. The vineyard (like all of Baudry's sites) is farmed organically, harvested entirely by hand, de-stemmed and put into gravity-fed cuves where it is ... Read More »
Rocfontaine's Saumur Champigny rouge is sourced from 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.
92 points Wine Spectator: "*Smart Buys* A rock-solid Chinon, with ripe, structured layers of plum, black currant and black cherry offset by sweet olive tapenade, mineral and aged tobacco. The long, iron-filled finish shows impressive depth. Should age nicely." (9/2007)
94 points Vinous: "An intense, dark wine, the 2013 Right Bank hits the palate with serious power and depth. Black cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, cloves and leather give the 2013 much of its brooding, virile personality. This is an especially dark Right Bank, with all the elements in the right place, but there is also enough inner sweetness and richness to make me think the 2013 will drink well with minimal cellaring. (AG)" (12/2016)
91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Le Cupole di Trinoro hits the palate with racy dark cherries, mocha, plums, espresso and new leather. Radiant and deeply expressive, the 2013 is a great introduction to the Tenuta di Trinoro wines. Cherry compote and cinnamon are some of the notes that shape the super-ripe, opulent finish. Le Cupole is the second selection of fruit and barrels that don't make it into the top wines. It also happens to be a terrific value. (AG)" (3/2016)
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Certified organic since 2009, this domaine has been in the hands of the Caslot family since 1640, long before there was any other way of farming. Today, Stéphanie and her brother Emmanuel run the estate. There are over 80 acres of vines on the property. These vineyards are always harvested below 40 hectoliters per hectare (the legal permitted maximum yield is 55 hl/ha). The wines are made with indigenous yeast and usually bottled without fining or filtration. They are deliciously meaty, dense, and astonishingly age-worthy Loire Cabernet Francs.
Inventory: San Francisco
Wine Spectator: "A light, unadorned style, with cherry pit, damson plum and violet notes, lined with subtle savory and white pepper hints. (JM, Web—2015)" K&L Notes: A serious, shy man, Philippe Alliet is the proprietor of this small domaine in Cravant-les-Côteaux, location of some of the best Cabernet Franc vineyards in the Loire Valley. Considered by many to be one of the finest producers in Chinon, Alliet is part of a new generation of Loire winemakers dedicated to low yields, optimally ripe fruit, and fastidious vineyard management. Inspired by the greats of Bordeaux--a region he... 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!
Andrew Jones learned to make wine from the ground up. He started as a vine nursery fieldman, planting and planning vineyards for wineries all over California. This gave him firsthand knowledge of nearly every vineyard on the Central Coast and a knack for finding "diamonds in the rough." Meanwhile, he was building friendships with some great California growers, who'd often offer him small lots of their best grapes on the side. From these beginnings he has built a catalog of delicious, affordable wines that hum with personality.
99 points James Suckling: "The clarity and beauty to this wine are breathtaking. The aromas of peaches, orange peel, blueberries and blackberries are truly amazing. Full body, phenomenal depth of fruit and silky tannins. There is polish and finesse, yet the strength is monumental. Better in 2018 but why wait? Demeter certified as biodynamic." (8/2015) 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The lovely 2012 Duemani is a wine that will show its potential further down the road. This warm vintage expression is muscular and compact at this initial stage in its evolution. It needs more years of bottle aging to unwind and soften ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin, good depth in the mouth, and a little muscular at the moment with a saline touch to the finish. (NM)" (11/2015) K&L Notes: This wine comes from Ginny Poval's farm located in the Devon Valley just minutes from the heart of Stellenbosch. Big Flower is designed to be an easy drinking wine that really over-delivers for the price point ... and boy it does just that!
This wine is 100% cabernet franc. Sustainable practices are used in the vineyard, and the fruit is mechanically harvested and completely destemmed. Fermentation and ageing takes place in stainless steel temperature-controlled vats.
Wine Spectator: "Brisk-edged, with a strong savory note guiding the core of blood orange, bitter plum and cherry pit flavors, all backed by a chalk-tinged finish. Drink now through 2018. 1,000 cases imported. (JM)" (9/2016)
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) K&L Notes: Maison Couly-Dutheil is undeniably one of the finest estates of Chinon, with eighty acres of prime Chinon vineyards as well as seven hectacres of Saumur and Saumur Champigny. The estate's Chinon holdings are impressive indeed as they spread over three distinct Chinon terroirs: Sand and gravel along the Vienne River which produce light and fruit... Read More »
René Noël Legrand took over from his father Fernand in 1976. The Legrands have been producing wines from these vineyards for five generations. Currently the domaine consists of 15 hectares (36 acres) of vines planted in the communes of Saumur, Dampierre, Chacé, Varrains and Champigny. The average age of his vines is thirty five years old, and the oldest were planted in 1927. The harvest here is done manually with 25 pickers working for up to two weeks. A "green harvest" is done in July to shorten the crop and increase the concentration, and the average y... Read More »
Home to the oldest vines of Charles Jouguet, the Clos de la Dioterie is a single vineyard that faces northeast. Naturally limited to an average yield of 30hl/ha, this is the last parcel harvested each vintage. Aged in 1-3 year old barrels for 12-15 months.
Cultivar is a retail-friendly line of Napa Valley wines from Jody Harris and Gingy Harris Gable of the exclusive, 300-case, by-allocation-only-and-we're-not-offering-new-allocations Casper Estate. Thanks for the efforts of winemaker Julien Fayard, Cultivar is answering the question, "Can you get Napa Cabernet with depth of fruit in balance with structure and elegance for under $25?" with "Why, yes, you can, and subtle notes of vanilla and spice notes melded with violets and roses while you're at it."
Vintage notes: "The 2013 vintage started with a very dry winter followed by a warm, dry and early spring. The weather turned hot in late May and staying that way through July. The first 10 days of August were cooler and slowed things a bit, but the heat returned and we began harvesting on August 19, making 2013 our fifth earliest harvest start in JUSTIN history. September and October gave us perfect conditions to harvest cabernet franc from mid-September through early October with an attractive red fruit and finesse while the earlier ripening merlot star... Read More »
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.
Jancis Robinson: "Destemmed. Fermented in 50-hl oak vats, then aged in barriques, 30% new, for just over a year. Deep, glowing crimson. Savoury, dark and spicy. Ripe cherries, fabulous fruit quality but not simple. Deep and long and just a little chewy but rounded. 17.5/20 points (JH)" (1/2016) K&L Notes: This is Jacky's "Grand Cru," if you will. This is picked from vines which are planted mid slope where the top soil is thin and the vine's roots hit the limestone almost immediately. In a really good year he might harvest 20 hectoliters per hectare - that is not a lot! The wine spends... Read More »
This Washington-based winery makes estate Cabernet Franc from their certified organic vineyard on the Oregon side of the river. Light on oak an alcohol, it's a Loire-styled Cab Franc.
Wine Spectator: "Cherry, sage and tobacco are the main themes in this moderately structured red, with juicy acidity and dry tannins on the finish. (BS)" (10/1998) K&L Notes: Direct from the Estate!! Just an adolescent, chewy and deep, almost sappy with briary hints in the nose and a definite minerality on the palate. Cool and very long. Clive Coates - Couly-Dutheil's "...Clos de l'Echo, a 17 hectare vineyard which produces the greatest red wine of the Loire Valley."
This is part of Channing Daughters "Molti Rosati" (many rosés) program, which is a single vineyard, varietally specific line of rosés. This year, the Cabernet Franc is one of six wines in the program. According to the winery: "Crisp, medium-bodied, elegant...Coppery, very pale salmon hue...Light and ethereal...Beautiful floral, light red fruits, saline minerality, yellow fleshed, light red fruit and citrus profile. ....raw bar, shellfish, local fluke and flounder, sushi, ceviches, fresh cheeses and fried foods"
Christine and Joel Menard have been making natural wines in the heart of Anjou for over 20 years. They practice biodynamic farming, indigenous yeast fermentation, and no filtering. The Gamay grapes were grown on 10 to 50 year old vines. According to the winery, the wine is "garnet and cloudy in the glass with pretty scents of black cherry pit, apple core and limestone. This is a buoyant and delightfully fruity expression of Loire Valley Gamay with zesty minerality and vibrant acidity."
Inventory: San Francisco
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A good value, the 2014 Cabernet Franc (100% Cabernet Franc aged in 30% new French oak) is a medium-bodied, pretty, beautifully pure 2014 that has forward notes of plums, blackberry liqueur, wildflowers and spice. It falls off on the finish, but has plenty to like. (JD)" (6/2016) Vinous: "Bright red. High-toned oak, blackcurrant, violet and licorice on the nose. Perfumed and firmly built, conveying a juicy character to the flavors of red berries, tobacco, spices and flowers. Finishes with good energy and lift. This varietally accurate Cabernet Franc struck me as swe ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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: San Francisco
A red blend with 65% Cabernet Franc--in Oregon? This component comes from the Quady North Vineyard in the Applegate Valley AVA of Southern Oregon, which is much warmer than the Pinot Noir-friendly Willamette Valley. Still, it is a lower-alcohol wine of just 12.3%, from Loire clone Franc blended with Gamay. The winery's vintage note: "We are very excited with our 4th iteration of the “Béton” blend. The Cabernet Franc, which was picked relatively early, again stands out and is a little lighter than last years wine at 12.3% alc. The wine, like last year, is... Read More »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 1999 Proprietary Red (a 500-case blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot) offers a dense ruby/purple color as well as a gorgeous Bordeaux-like bouquet of mocha, menthol, scorched earth, black cherries, currants, smoke, and toasty oak. The wine is expressive and full-bodied, with stunning concentration yet admirable delineation. Its moderately high tannin in the finish suggests considerable patience is warranted. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2025. (RP)" (8/2002) 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Full ruby. Scented nose of blueberry, graphite, licorice and wild herbs, with a slight med ...Read More »