Catherine and Pierre Breton Clos Senechal 2008

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Steamy summer days call for light, crisp white wine, right? The rich flavours and aromas of BBQd meats call for a bold and intense red? Think again. How can one wine take over both these categories simultaneously? That is the magic of great Loire Valley Cab Franc.

Cabernet Franc is much underappreciated, both in its home in the Loire and abroad. Despite the fact that Napa produces some stellar Cab Francs, they rarely get much attention. And the Loire? Well, there’s a reason why its top wines sell for under $50 – it is both under the radar and misunderstood.

Most of the time we associate the Loire Valley with acid. It is very difficult to ripen red grapes in the Loire and so many Cab Francs also suffer from imbalance. But don’t let that scare you away. As I mentioned in my review of Clos Rougeard, the best producers (of which Breton is one) make such lovely, juicy, crunchy and aromatically lifted wines from Cab Franc that you would be depriving yourself of both great wine and great values if you ignore it.

A Fresh, Fruity, Summertime Red

This single vineyard offering from Breton is in their upper tier of wines (vs. simple and fun entry level wines like Trinch!). It is also a step up in quality of fruit and depth. The fact that a wine with so much vivacity and accessibility could be made in 2008 also throws a wrench in the vintage treadmill. Despite its much feared cool weather and high acid, 2008 has produced some incredible wines across France (particularly the Loire, Alsace, Burgundy and the Rhone). They are being ignored for lauded 2007s and 2009s. That means bargains.

This wine in particular is a steal, with its bright peppe fruit, complex aromas and considerable length and strucutre. This is perfect chilled on a hot summer day on its own, with a tomato salad and, yes, with BBQd meats.

Very Good+ to Excellent and Highly Recommended Value
$35 at Kits Wine

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