Domaine de la Renière, "La Renière" Saumur-Champigny 2019
Cabernet Franc｜Loire Valley, France
With spring in the air it’s fitting that we’ve been centered on the wonderful wines of the Loire river valley as of late. We continue the Loire focus with a delicious, aromatic bottling of Cabernet Franc from the organically farmed vineyards of Domaine de la Renière.
The domaine dates back to the late 17th century, when the noblemen and women of France flocked to the Loire on holiday. Today the domaine is led by Thibault Masse, a young gun winemaker who has since converted the entire operation to organic practices, and the results are paying off in delicious, drinkable dividends. As he says, “I aspire to do simple and healthy things, by supporting the vine, not by exploiting it.” He makes the wine alongside Romain Guiberteau, a Loire superstar and one of the most respected names in the region.
The Loire valley region, and Saumur-Champigny within it, is the spiritual home of Cabernet Franc and this is one of the most classically delicious examples we’ve found lately. Immediately pull the cork to revel in the layered red berry fruits, replete with a hint of violet perfume, lilacs, pink peppercorn, and raspberry liqueur. Suave, poised, and elegant, this is not a glossy, new-world, overly flashy bottling, but rather an elegant and ethereal incarnation of this versatile, utterly delicious grape.
Saumur-Champigny is found on the banks of the Loire, about a two-hour drive from the Atlantic ocean to the west. The river acts as a moderating influence on the climate, while the iconic tuffeau and limestone soils here contribute an irreplaceable sense of terroir. Domaine de la Renière is found in the charming village Le-Puy-Notre-Dame, one of the finest villages in the heart of the appellation.
The domaine farms just two plots, classified by their soil type and accompanying varietal: “La Cerisaie” for Chenin Blanc and its white wines; and“La Renière” for this Cabernet Franc.
Fun fact: Cabernet Franc is a pretty old grape; millennia ago it crossed with Sauvignon Blanc in the wild and Cabernet Sauvignon was born. It carries all the notes of Cab Sauv in a more refined, lithe package and shines in this distinctive natural bottling from Domaine de la Reniére!