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Cave de Bourgueil, Lieu-dit Beauregard 2005

October 6, 2008

~15$US, 100% Cabernet Franc, Bourgueil, Loire Valley, France

The unsung red wines from the Loire Valley tend to be my goto wines when I’m having trouble deciding on a food-wine pairing. They tend to be lighter-bodied than most domestic reds, and less of a gamble in the sub-$20 range in terms of oaking/manipulation/obliteration that can rob a younger wine of it’s food-friendlieness.

The major red grape of the Loire is Cabernet Franc (Cabernet Saugivnon’s old-school Dad – Sauvignon Blanc being the Mom), and in regions like Chinon and Bourgueil the varietal has been taken to great heights in terms of quality and experience. The best of these wines are very age-worthy and in the past they’ve held as much esteem as great Bordeaux. But as daily drinkers, they offer solid values for the old-world palate.

This entry-level Bourgueil is a little shy on the nose, but typical sugar-snap peas and bing cherries come through. The nose is echoed on the palate – but much more lively and snappy – with an over-riding cleanliness to the fruit. Some Bourgueils can get a little “boggy” with wet leaves and soggy tobacco – but this stays out of the muck with bright cherry and some hot spice (cinnamon?) flavors. Great acidity and medium-fine tannins make this terrific with any meat dish that has a lots of vegetables along with it.

Sleek but solid, and not over-the-top in any one aspect.

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