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Saumur-Champigny 2012, Terres Chaudes, Domaine des Roches Neuves ($32.75, 12179087)
100% biodynamically farmed Cabernet Franc from 35- to 45-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Macerated two to five days then fermented with indigenous yeasts at 15 to 22ºC for around three weeks in lined concrete vats. Transferred to 60-hectolitre round and 12-hectolitre oval neutral oak barrels for one year’s maturation on the fine lees. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 13% ABV.
Fragrant nose: cherry, blackberry, black currant and graphite along with old cedar, black earth tobacco leaf and a floral note that puts me in mind of iris. In the mouth, the wine is amply but well proportioned. The fruit is ripe and the Cab Franc herbaceousness that some find objectionable is non-existent, though there is a kind of herby freshness reminiscent of chervil. And yet, ripeness notwithstanding, the wine is austere, like Chiantis can sometimes be, possibly due to its bone-dryness and pervasive fine, tight tannins that outlast the fruit on the long finish. Still, the overriding impression is one of purity and finesse. This age-worthy wine is the most accomplished Terres Chaudes I’ve tasted and certainly among the best Loire Cab Francs available at the SAQ, where quantities appear to be limited. (Buy again? Yes, though not without some grumbling about the price.)

The 2010, a few bottles of which remain in the system, retails for $5.65 less. That’s quite the hike – 23% to be precise, which exchange rate fluctuations don’t begin to explain. Who’s pocketing the extra cash? The winemaker? The agent? The SAQ? All of the above?

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Written by carswell

February 23, 2014 at 13:01

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