2018 Marquis de Surblet Chinon

To be truthful, I’ve found it difficult to find versions of Loire Cabernet Franc which are technically well made and not blighted by dodgy old oak or bitter sulphide reduction. It’s a beautifully expressive variety, an ancient parent of the assertively tough Cabernet Sauvignon and extremely disappointing when it ends up down the drain. A recent, acclaimed version from the famous Saumur Champigny Les Poyeux vineyard was filthy with both brett, sulphide and a lingering mousiness. Sad really that the most enjoyable efforts have been the more mass produced and commercial. This is a supermarket chain direct import from the cooperative, La Cave des Vins de Rabelais, who it seems enjoyed a good glass of wine himself. Probably made in an all stainless steel, safe yeast and whole berry ferment way for brightness but deliciously glossy from a pretty warm season. There’s bright red fruits, a touch of bubblegum and a sweet green herby drag of ruffled acidity. The first day, there was a balsamic breath to finish that raised doubts about its ability not to collapse by day two. Happily, it actually got better, more fruit weight, more even length and structure. When the Loire’s not being decimated by increasingly common spring frost, it seems global warming is certainly helping with ripening the fruit destined for the everyday table. Just about qualifies as being typical of place and grape which is impressive for the price.

13.50% alcohol, lush. Screwcap, quelle horreur. $13.99.

90 points.

The 2019 has appeared and it’s just as interesting. Probably fresher and herbier, there’s a real raspberry fruit and lots of leaf perfume. Shining bright acidity leaves a sweet reminder of surprisingly decent fruit for the price. Very Loire just ripe enough for me but perhaps not all.

13% alcohol. Screw cap. $12 members’ special.

90 points again.

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Everyday events struggle to share space with wine thoughts in an ever shrinking brain.

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