The Loire Valley continues to be one of the most exciting corners of winemaking in France. Organic viticulture, balanced wines, and affordable prices are the rule here rather than the exception. We find ourselves reaching for Loire reds often these days, whatever the occasion – they’re characterful, refreshing, complex and downright tasty.
Our favorite source for these delicious reds is the Domaine des Sanzay, an organic fixture of Saumur-Champigny in the central Loire. Their unblended Cabernet Franc wines have become highly popular in our warehouse, with their simple Saumur red and old-vine cuvée opening tasters’ eyes to a new expression of the grape. But today we’re focused on their most impressive wine, an old-vine single parcel cuvée – a Cab Franc with real presence.
With 60+ year old vines and giving small yields and very intense fruit, Sanzay’s 2018 “Dares” cuvée has taken a few years to settle down. But today it’s magnificent and is only beginning to show its character. Vinous’s Loire Valley reviewer Rebecca Gibb MW found “masses of well-handled tannins, fruit depth and classy vanilla oak…powerful and well-made.” Well-aged Cabernet Franc can rival Burgundy for subtlety and depth, and this is a perfect example.
This isn’t quite to the level of its iconic neighbor Clos Rougeard, but at $32 (rather than $320), it might be a better buy.
Sanzay Saumur-Champigny “Dares” 2018
bottle price: $32
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