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Senior editor and tasting director Bruce Sanderson joined Wine Spectator in 1993. His tasting beats are Burgundy in France and Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy.
Bruce Sanderson

A Recessionary Red from France

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes 2005

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: March 13, 2009

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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