Beatrice & Pascal Lambert, Domaine Lambert, Cuvee Marie, AOC Chinon, Indre et Loire, Centre Val de Loire, France, 2012
On AOC/AOP Chinon
This red, white and rose appellation, is located along the Vienne valley, and the left banks of the Indre and the Loire (map). Soils are clayey-sand, soft chalk, and sandy-gravel. The climate is maritime to semi-continental, warmer and drier than the rest of the region.
Red and rose are traditionally varietal cabernet franc, locally known as breton, with up to 10% cabernet sauvignon permitted, though this is little employed (INAO). For the whites, varietal chenin blanc, aka pineau de la Loire.
This wine: lot No. LMARIE12 (close by the back label), certified organic and biodynamic, varietal cabernet franc (aka locally as breton), no added yeast, unfined, unfiltered; coated natural cork closure, 13% abv, Gauntleys, £25.85 (12/19)
Consumer tasting note: green pepper on the nose and palate, the calling card of cabernet franc, varietal from Chinon in this case, but also a component of right bank Bordeaux. The nose also carries notes of black berries, violets, cedar and candle wax; medium bodied with fresh acidity and firm(ish) yet fine grained tannins which make this a definite food wine, with a palate of black berry and cherry, green and red pepper, and black liquorice. Finishes resoundingly long.
Drink now – RTD, and will improve over 2-4 years – Wait. One could double decant, to open things up a little quicker, but it’s more interesting, to follow the unfurling in the glass.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, deep intensity ruby, showing tears, [a misting of very fine sediment].
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, developing, with aromas as they come, of cedar, candle wax, black berry, black currant juice, green pepper, a passing whiff of violets, touch of toast, developing hint of black liquorice, leaf humus, spicy red cherry jam, a hint of dried cranberry.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, fine grained medium (+) tannins, medium alcohol, medium body, medium (+) intensity, with flavours of dried red pepper, black cherry boiled sweets, green pepper, black berry, dried cranberry, black liquorice. A firmly long length (>30s) with a touch of green pepper on the end.
Quality: very good, perfectly balanced fresh acidity and fine grained tannins (a food wine) with alcohol, altogether suiting the quite strong flavour intensity and similar concentration; showing a moderate towards high complexity, with evidence of deft use of oak – just a frill showing (cedar, spice, toast), and time in bottle (candle wax, cedar, dried fruits, leaf humus); follows into a firmly long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing: can drink now, but has potential for further ageing, over say 2-4 years, and will keep longer – a sound structure and balance, with a firm acid-tannin backbone to support further time in cellar, plenty of intensity and concentration, a very long length, and fruit to work with.