The red wines of the Loire Valley always play second fiddle to the region’s whites. But it’s a mistake to ignore them – they’re well balanced, low-alcohol, usually organic, and often exceptional values. Our favorites these days are the unblended, unoaked Cabernet Francs from the central Loire.
Winemakers Celine and Didier Sanzay are fifth generation growers in Saumur-Champigny in the central Loire. Their reds are pure Cabernet Franc, and fit modern Loire style — small batch, organic, wild yeasts, no fining or filtering. They’re lovely on their own, but it’s the freshness and vibrant texture that makes them perfect food-paring reds.
Sanzay’s just-arrived Saumur-Champigny is exactly what you want Loire Cab Franc to be: pure, joyful, unoaked, and refreshing. Clean, juicy fruit bursts from the glass on the nose — think wild cherries and graphite. The mouth is fresh, fruit forward, inky, and intense, with a bold and vibrant attack and a quick clean finish. Picture a juicy Beaujolais with more serious texture and darker fruit.
Consider it an alternative to your everyday, catch-all Côtes-du-Rhône red. Pair with crackers and goat cheese, coq a vin, or a fresh pizza.
Sanzay Saumur-Champigny 2022
bottle price: $22