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

Bernard Baudry “Les Grézeaux” (Chinon  2017) RED
Special 6-pack Price: $146 (~$24/bottle)

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. 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.

The generosity of the 2017 vintage is revealed by Les Grézeaux’s ripe, dense fruit and soft tannins. The nose is all full of crushed berries, wet slate, and fresh-cut flowers. It presents a bit more structure and gravitas than the price indicates. Drink now paired with a simple but classic Porc aux pruneaux and allow a few bottles to blossom in the cellar over the next decade.


Also Available from Bernard Baudry

“Le Clos Guillot” (Chinon 2016)
~$31 (when purchased as part of 6-pack with “Les Grézeaux”)

We have a small amount of this 100% Cabernet Franc produced from a plot of a little less than 10 acres in size that was planted between 1993 and 2000. The parcel is situated on a south-southwest exposed slope with clay soils on top of the hill, and yellow tuffeau lower down the grade. After fermentation the wine matures for 12 months in oak barrels, 3-5 years old, and a further nine months in unlined cement vats. The result is a wine that is robust, flinty, and full of tension. The Baudrys are traditionalists and it shows in this classic Chinon.

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Posted on 2020.01.09 in France, Saturday Sips Wines, Loire


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