What to drink this week
Loire reds: the Cabernets
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