Punchy, Crackling, Delicious Organic Loire Valley Red. $22

A dispatch from the golden age of Loire Valley reds.

Some wine writers will tell you that we’re living in the golden age of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. Twenty years ago winemakers would struggle to ripen their grapes, and as anyone who’s had one will agree, underripe Cabernet Franc is a particular sort of unappealing. Twenty years from now, if warmer summers and earlier harvests continue, the wines may become unrecognizable. Rejoice, they say, in this window of perfect weather.

The size of the window and speed at which it closes remain to be seen, but, as far as the present goes, we wholeheartedly agree. The reds coming out of the central Loire are irresistibly good – the best match juicy ripeness with a precision and freshness. Our source here is Domaine des Sanzay, an organic producer making humble, delicious, affordable wines.

The 2021 base cuvée is a return to the classic expression — delicate red fruit, excellent freshness, and perfectly extracted middle-weight tannin. The fruits are dark and pretty, with violets and cassis; the mouth is crackling and fresh with excellent density and a cool finish.

Serve this with anything that needs a fresh red — spiced pasta; goat cheese on crackers; a wintery salad; a cozy ratatouille.


Sanzay Saumur-Champigny 2021
bottle price: $22

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