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One of my go-to wines is Cabernet Franc, grown and vinified in France's Loire Valley. Often, this Bordeaux variety fails to ripen fully in the cooler appellations of the Loire: Chinon, Bourgueil, St.-Nicolas de Bourgueil and Saumur-Champigny.
But when it does, the medium-bodied, intensely flavored reds made from Cabernet Franc are unforgettable in aroma and flavor. Black currant, cassis, olive, tobacco and mineral notes, like iron and graphite, abound.
I purchased a case of Domaine de la Chanteleuserie's 2005 old-vines bottling, so the cost worked out to $13 a bottle, down from the suggested release price of $18. It shows aromas of cassis, licorice, black olive and tobacco. Rich and mouthcoating yet compact in a way, its tannins are fine, lending grain to the intense fruit flavors.
Coming from the warm, outstanding 2005 vintage, this wine is more powerful than usual. I rate it 90 points, non-blind. Try pairing it with roast or grilled chicken with herbs.
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