I’ve been away from Chinon for too long. My chum Jeremy once opened some 20 year old stuff and it was utterly delicious: light, ethereal, and very, very pretty. My bottles have never lasted that long, alas. I heard though the usual channels that Monsieur B makes great wines, so I thought I’d try one of his lesser cuvees in order to test the water before getting a muy expensivo flavour to stick in the cellar. Based on my first sniff and slurp I may well do so (once the bank account is in working order again).
Cabernet Franc, the business grape of Chinon, can show mineral characteristics with a delightful ease. OK, they may not always be as grand as the super CabFranc wine Cheval-Blanc, but then they are usually vastly less demanding in terms of fun token outlay. I am eager to describe this wine as I’ve had a gulp or two and I’m feeling enamoured.
Chinon 2009, Domaine Bernard Baudry
This has a very appealing nose: lots of crunchy, fresh fruit, a refreshing leafiness and light, refined minerality. It may not be throbbing with poly-dimensional amazement, but it is totally at ease with its accessible pleasures. It would have been so easy to treat this to more than a suggestion of toasty new oak but is only the better for not having been ravished like this. For a very affordable bottle I am cock-a-hoop with this nose. The palate plays with ideas of freshness, rigour and softness. The acid and stemmy characteristics are fresh, the tannins rigorous and the fruit and minerality deliciously soft. Again, not the most complex of wines, but I am finding it hard not to be won-over by its approachable personality. Drink over the next few years.
-  I am sure there is some tit from a depressingly ‘Southern’ appellation about to buy a property in the Loire and make ‘Ooooohh fancy!’ CabFranc who will tell us that leafiness is a winemaking fault in the variety. Well I make it known now that if he ever says it to me I will fling poo at his front door and call his pretentious marketing attempt a silly thing. Cabernet Franc is supposed to have a shade of a green tinge to its nose and don’t let any knob-grater tell you any different. ↩