TODAY Jean-Marc takes us on a tour of the Loire Valley that is well known for its white wine, but it is also home to a special red, the Chinon.
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Below is a translation of the show.
Dear wine lovers,
Loire Valley is probably the longest vineyard of France, starting west with Muscadet near Nantes and finishing east with Pouilly Fume 60 miles south of Paris.
Because of its North location, Loire Valley vines have a natural potential for white and rose (regular, sparkling or late harvest) but in the very middle of the whole area, you can find some very interesting red wines such as Anjou, Bourgueil, Saumur Champigny or Chinon.
Produced from Cabernet Franc (the Loire Valley red grape variety), Chinon is in opinion the most accomplished wine since vines reach there the maturity and the structure (especially with old vines) that will balance with the natural acidity.
Chinon should be drunk young, a little cool since it is very fruity at this stage and because of its freshness. As they age, these wines can become surprisingly good, evolving with hints of caramel and prune flavors.
Recently, I remember being "moved" by a tasting of a Chinon 1990 "Clos de l'Echo" from Couly-Dutheil, a fabulous Estate once owned by François Rabelais, which was quite impressive with its kirsch and prune aromas.
Other wineries like Domaine Charles Pain or Patrick Lambert are very regular in the quality and have pretty fair prices. Vintage 2002, like for all Loire Valley and Burgundy, is great in the current available wines.
Drink it with light meat or even with river fish (a little cool then) when it is young. Marry it with blue cheese or chocolate cake when it has reached maturity to experience this surprising red wine from Loire Valley.
Jean-Marc Espinasse is involved in the wine making of Domaine du Banneret and distributes a portfolio of French wines in the US and provides wine education courses.
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