What to drink this week

Loire reds: the Caber­nets

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

Spring be­gan early in the UK, with en­cour­ag­ing tem­per­a­tures and ex­u­ber­ant blos­som­ing and sprout­ing af­ter a pretty mild win­ter. Ac­tu­ally, these early springs have now been a trend for some time, both in the USA and in Europe. This may be dis­ori­en­tat­ing for many species, but, in wine terms, it means that our taste­buds can de­velop a yen for sum­mer reds from the Loire val­ley a month ear­lier than they used to.

Why you should be drink­ing them

I’m al­ways a lit­tle sur­prised that Loire Val­ley reds, es­pe­cially the Caber­net Franc-based wines from Chi­non, Bour­gueil and Sau­mur-champigny, don’t sud­denly be­come fash­ion­able and that prices re­main so em­i­nently rea­son­able. The Caber­net Franc is such an in­ter­est­ing grape, a kind of light­weight thor­ough­bred, of­fer­ing uniquely fresh, sappy aro­mas and, at its best, pure rasp­berry fruit.

What to drink

As in many ar­eas, 2015 was a won­der­ful vin­tage for Caber­ent Franc in the Loire and 2016, de­spite hor­ri­ble early-sum­mer weather, has pro­duced some el­e­gant and dis­tinc­tive wines. Sau­mur Champigny, Tra­di­tion, Do­maine la Bon­nelière 2016 (be­low, £11.95; www.from vine­yards­di­rect.com) has lovely sap­pi­ness and fi­nesse—it’s very good in­deed for the price. Chi­non Les Granges 2015 Do­maine Bernard Baudry (£14.50; www.leaand­sande­man.co.uk) ab­so­lutely bris­tles with scents of the sous-bois (un­der­growth) and has de­li­ciously bright, ripe fruit on the palate. Saint Ni­co­las de Bour­gueil La Mine Do­maine Yan­nick Ami­rault (£17.95; www. leaand­sande­man.co.uk) jus­ti­fies its higher price tag with in­tense fresh­ness com­bined with vel­vety rich­ness.

It’s high time these fresh, sappy wines were in fash­ion, urges Harry Eyres

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