Friday, February 20, 2009

Discovery of the Month: February 2009 Earthy Notes

2005 Domaine de la Cave du Rocher Saumur Champigny Val de Loire (Rene Legrand)
Suggested retail price $11-$13
Imported by Baron Francois in NYC

Saumur Champigny is among the Loire valley’s finest red wines. This is a terroir of excellence for a fresh, balanced expression of Cabernet Franc.

Saumur Champigny are usually slightly lighter in style, structure and character than Chinon, yet in very good year, they can matched them in term of richness and length. Of course it depends on the style and the producer, but overall, one can say that Saumur Champigny is richer and more intense than a Bourgueil or a Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, yet it doesn't reach the depth and complexity of a Chinon.

The Cabernet Franc vines grow in the yellow chalky soils, know as “Tuffeaux”, which give the wine its characteristic suppleness and an aromatic bouquet.

The harvest took place between the end of September and the beginning of October. After a maceration on the skin for about fifteen days, the wine was then matured in stainless tank, after a long fermentation. It was bottled in June of the following year.

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc, 2005 Domaine de la Cave du Rocher Saumur Champigny is surprisingly juicy, light to medium bodied yet fleshy and tasty. Although, Saumur Champigny is usually a great summer wine (like many Loire Reds), the rich and textured 2005 Cave du Rocher is a perfect wine to say good bye to Winter and welcome Spring. The palate is riper than previous vintages and certainly fleshier and juicier than many other Saumurs (that I tasted recently) in this price range (especially with no ageing in oak). Flavors of ripe cherry and ripe red berries intermingled with earthy and mineral notes, balanced by a great acidity that keep this wine focus until the end. The back palate and the finish are structured by some refined, integrated tannins (not too green, smokey or bitter, like it often happen with Cab. Franc base wines). This wine was an enjoyable surprise and may open wider the door to Loire valley to riper style wine drinkers (don't get me wrong, we are not talking about Californian or Australian wine drinkers....) Enjoy it room temperature for now and slightly chilled during summer. Serve it with cold cut, charcuterie or cheeses. Perfect for late afternoon break, barbecues and outdoors parties.

Step into the green! Drink more Bio and organic wines (and food) from sustainable culture!

LeDom du Vin

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