Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2011 Marc Bredif Chinon

For me Chinon can be a bit of an unpredictable beast.   Chinon hails from the Loire Valley, and is composed of Cabernet Franc.  A wine made in a very chalky soil, Chinions can vacillate from mineral and unpleasantly acidic to plush and rich with fruit, depending on the weather and the hand of the winemaker.  When a winemaker achieves the perfect balance, you can grab a wine of great distinction and get out of the shop with a fair portion of your wallet intact.  Because it is a lesser known region of France, and because these wines do not enjoy a huge degree of popularity, they are often quite reasonably priced.  If your only experience with Cab Franc is as a blending grape in another wine region, pick one of these up, as it is always an interesting exercise to see what it can do on its own. 

This wine displays a lovely color concentration in the glass: dark ruby trending towards  purple, but maintaining a nice vibrancy and translucence.  On the nose, I can immediately detect the youthful character of this wine:  it just SEEMS young and fresh, with  beaucoup black and red fruits, and a subtle note in the background that evokes a touch of carbonic maceration.  There is just a hint of the confectionery bubblegumminess/ banana candy present.  A big sour cherry note entwines with a scent of something chalky and mineralesque,  that almost evokes iodine. 

Palatewise, this wine lacked the overly chalky austerity of a lot of Chinons; it drank much more supple, with the mid palate dominated by a lovely concentration of fruit.  While that characteristic chalkiness showed up on the dry finish, it didn't overwhelm the way it can in wines of a lesser producer or vintage.  The wine shows pleasing acidity and low tannins, and a medium length of finish that leaves you wanting another sip.

Assessment: A Chinon typical of the breed, but with an additional level of accessibility.  Quite appropriate for Burgundian Pinot Noir drinkers, or others who enjoy a lighter styled, low tannin wine.

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