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Loire Valley Cabernet Franc from Bernard Baudry – Fruit, Terroir, Balance

Bernard Baudry is easily one of Chinon’s best producers. Born into a winemaking family, Bernard studied oenology in Beaune and began his professional life as a vine-tending consultant at the Tours laboratory. In 1975 he decided to start his own estate with five acres of vines in the village of Cravant-les-Coteaux. Today the estate is 79 acres and Bernard’s son, Matthieu, works with his father to continue producing the consistent, high-quality wines for which the domaine is celebrated.

The Baudry vineyards have always been cultivated according to environmentally friendly methods and have been organically farmed since 2006. To rebalance the organic matter in the soils they maintain their own compost based on cow manure and straw. Yields are controlled by partial disbudding of the vines but the ultimate goal is to find the right balance based on vintage conditions where the vines naturally restrict their own yields. Harvest is done 100% by hand and post-harvest all fruit is de-stemmed and placed into gravity-fed vats where fermentation takes place with indigenous yeasts.

With gravel, sand, limestone, silica, and clay across several distinct parcels, the diversity of soils allows the Baudrys to produce singular wines that express their individual terroir through the lens of Cabernet Franc.

$24.30 “Les Grézeaux” (Chinon  2018)

The Grézeaux vines are the Baudry’s oldest at around 50 years and were one of the first plots that were purchased when the estate was established 45 years ago. They lie on a bed of gravel and clay near the River Vienne which helps to create a wine of concentration. Fermentation takes place in cement vats and then the wine matures for 12 months in oak barrels, 3-5 years old. A sip reveals dense fruit followed by soft tannins. The nose is all full of crushed berries, wet slate, and fresh-cut flowers.

$21.60 “Le Domain” (Chinon 2018)

The fresh and structured “Le Domaine” is a mix of fruit from 70% of sandy plateau over limestone and 30% gravel vineyards. Average age of the vines are 30 to 35 years old. The wine sees a two-week fermentation in cement vats, then fifteen months of aging in unlined cement or oak vats. Bottling occurs two springs after harvest with no filtration. This cuvée can age five to 10 years.

$18 “Les Granges” (Chinon 2019)

Les Granges is a superb example of a juicy, round and easy-drinking Chinon meant to be consumed young. It is produced from vines planted between 1985 and 1988 in mixed gravels and sands on recent alluvial terraces. The wine sees a two-week fermentation in cement vats, then seven to ten months aging in cement vats.

 

*The listed prices are for a purchase of 6 bottles or more, any combination of wines listed on website.

 

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Posted on 2020.01.09 in France, Saturday Sips Wines, Loire

 

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