I sometimes find that the most enjoyable wines I drink are those tied to strong memories. So it was the other day when I went out to lunch to a local bistro with senior editor and tasting director Bruce Sanderson. While perusing the wine list, and spurred by a mutual recollection, we quickly zeroed in on a red made out of Cabernet Franc from a top Loire producer, Charles Joguet.
Back during the first Clinton administration, Bruce and I had visited Joguet’s domaine on a road trip from Paris to Bordeaux. I didn’t know much about the Loire back then, but Bruce swore by the wines of Joguet. We spent a few hours in Joguet’s cellar, learning the details of his vineyards and wines—and I was impressed by the high-quality reds he made from single vineyards. I felt I came away with a real understanding of the wines and their terroir; Charles (who retired in 1997) was a gracious host. The Cabernet Francs of Joguet, with their firm red fruit flavors and well-defined savory herbal notes, are far removed from the ripe versions you may be familiar with from California.
The Cuvée Terroir we selected is his basic red; the fruit for the wines comes from young vines planted on a plateau just outside of the town of Chinon. It is aged and fermented in stainless steel vats (and thus sees no oak). The 2007 featured aromas of black currant, wild plum and iron with firm flavors to match, which were accented by the prototypical Loire Cabernet Franc notes of black olive and tobacco. It was an elegant and bright red that would be perfect with roasted poultry or fish. I rated it 88 points, non-blind, and it costs around $20 at retail.