2015 Château du Hureau "Tuffe" Saumur-Champigny

SKU #1387067 92 points John Gilman

 The 2015 Tuffe bottling from Philippe and Georges Vatan comes in at a properly ripe thirteen percent octane in this warm vintage and offers up superb aromatic complexity in its blend of sweet dark berries, black cherries, cigar smoke, a touch of juniper, complex soil tones and a bit of chicory in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and shows a nice touch of sappiness at the core, with excellent soil signature, ripe, suave tannins and excellent focus and grip on the long, complex and very classy finish. The Vatans make some of the best wines in the appellation, outside of Clos Rougeard, and their 2015 Tuffe is outstanding. This is very easy to drink already, despite its good structure, but will also age very long and gracefully and will be even better a decade down the road. Fine juice. 2018-2045. 92+  (9/2018)

K&L Notes

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, which was carved out of the limestone cliffs in the 13th century and overlooks the Loire river. For wine lovers, the cave is even more impressive than the Château, with numerous paths leading to carved out caverns housing stainless steel vinification equipment and lines of barrels. It reminds one of being in a James Bond movie! Seventeen hectares (42 acres) including 21 separate vineyard plots are spread around the towns of Dampierre-sur-Loire, Souzay, Champigny and Saumur and are planted with Cabernet Franc. What links all of the plots is "tuffeau" (tufa/limestone), a kind of soft chalk from the Cretaceous period (146 to 65 million years ago). In Latin "creta" means chalk. The underlying tuffeau is the defining factor in Saumur-Champigny's distinctive quality, and it also provides the name for this beautiful red.

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Price: $15.99
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By: Steve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/7/2019 | Send Email
This has aromas of violets, soil and smoke along with rich flavors of herb tinged black raspberries in the chewy middle. The wine is bold and wonderfully balanced with ripe tannins holding the finish.

By: William Beare | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/25/2019 | Send Email
This is a beautifully brawny and bold Cab Franc. Strength and grace intermingle well in the world of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, and this is no exception. The nose is an intense experience, bunches of earthy flowers give a rich perfume, followed up with a slow burning, peppery palate, and finished off with a sharp dose of the limestone minerality that gives the "Tuffe" its name.

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/17/2019 | Send Email
If you haven't been initiated into the cult of Cabernet Franc from the central Loire, then this is the wine to get you started. For a mere $16 you get a world-class wine that exhibits all the best characteristics at a ridiculously low price. Ancient sedimentary limestone provides the ideal foundation for growing Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. The “Tuffe” bottling is the perfect way to initiate yourself into the realm of these sublime wines. It possesses all the tell-tale traits of tobacco, red fruits, and just a hint of French funk. It really hits all the high marks for classic Cabernet Franc.

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/17/2019 | Send Email
My visit to Saumur-Champigny a couple of years ago was one of the highlights of my trip through the Loire Valley. The impressive chalky stone that makes up the cliffs and vineyards in the region is knows as tuffeau. This bottling from Chateau du Hureau reins as one of the most consistent and impressive wines from this region. Planted over a multitude of parcels over the tuffeau, it captures the essence of that black brambly black cherry and tapenade quality that makes Cabernet Franc from this region so engaging. The chalky dust seems to rise up through the roots of the vine, into the grapes and finally from your glass with a light dusting of minerality in each whiff. An easy qualifier as my go-to weeknight wine, this pairs handsomely with a range of poultry, pork and lamb dishes. Don't be afraid to lose a bottle or two in your cellar or locker though, it will surely delight for many years to come.

By: Will Blakely | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/17/2019 | Send Email
A consummate case for the influence of terroir on wine, this exudes minerals and dense earth. On the nose, a noticeable but pleasant brett gives way to ripe raspberries and dark cherries. Smoke, mocha and peppery earth remain present throughout, but are complimented beautifully by youthful acid. With about 30 minutes of air, the floral tones and bright fruit intensify, while the brett fades into the background, providing just enough gamey character to keep things interesting. It has grown exceedingly difficult to find such serious, complex wine at this price point, so I am always pleased to find bottles like this.

By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/17/2019 | Send Email
The opulence of the 2015 vintage in France is on full display in this seriously impressive Loire Cab Franc. It has a beautiful perfume of stewed bell peppers and violets with undertones of mocha. On the palate, rich red currant/blackberry fruit takes center stage with hints of mint and pepper give overall great lift. The texture is utterly drinkable with ripe chewy tannins and good balancing acidity. Incredible bottle of wine for the sub-$20 category.

By: Chris DePaoli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/15/2019 | Send Email
This is a fantastic Cabernet Franc from a great region in the Loire Valley that's begging to be discovered by the masses. Easy to drink, ready to go, and has a great mouth watering acidity to match the subtle spice and black fruit driving the palate forward. The stainless steel fermentation shows up in a super clean and refined finish that readies the next sip with the end of the last.

Additional Information:


Cabernet Franc

- While Cabernet Franc, a parent with Sauvignon Blanc to the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon, frequently plays second fiddle in Bordeaux blends (though it does get more props on the Right Bank, where it dominates Cheval Blanc), this lighter, higher acid/lower tannin, early-maturing, perfumed red varietal is far from a wallflower. It is the headliner in the Loire Valley appellations of Saumur-Champigny, Bourgueil, St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Chinon and Anjou-Villages, where it makes exceptional, food-friendly wines. Outside of France, Cabernet Franc can be found in northern Italy, particularly in Friuli and in California where it is frequently used as a blending grape in Bordeaux-style wines. Heartier in the cold than Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc is gaining a foothold in northern and eastern wine regions like Canada, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


- Of all of the French wine producing regions, the Loire might produces the greatest variety of wines. They range from still to sparkling, very dry and acidic to hearty sweet, and clear in color to a deep purple. The diversity of wine produced in this region is due in part to its dynamic climate, which ranges from Continental to Mediterranean. This region is best known for Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc and Cabernet Franc. The most famous areas in the Loire Valley may be Sancerre and Vouvray.