Les Barnabés is a single vineyard parcel held by Olga Raffault. The Cabernet Franc vines are grown on sandy-gravelly soils with less limestone than les Picasses. This wine spent less time in foudre before release; it makes a very pretty and elegant Chinon, approachable in youth, but eminently ageable.
Classic Chinon from a great producer, this is a wonderful entry point to the world of Cabernet Franc. While there's some Cabernet Franc grown in Bordeaux, nowhere does it achieve superstar status quite like in the Loire Valley, especially Chinon. Olga Rauffault died a few years ago, but her granddaughter carries on the family tradition. This is the entry level cuveé, so while it could age for a few years, it is meant to be guzzled today. Les Barnabés vineyards differ from the most prestigous Picasses in that it has alluvial and sandy soil (as opposed to structured limestone). Rich red berry with well integrated herbaceous earth and firm smooth tannins make Les Barnabés a great food wine. It's also approachable enough to be enjoyed on its own.
There’s a lot to remember when it comes to the Loire. Novices, take note: Cabernet Franc is a great alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscadet is unparalleled as a companion to shellfish, and Cour Cheverny is the best white wine appellation you’ve never heard of. As diverse as Loire wines are, one day soon you'll know your Melon de Bourgogne from your Romorantin.
Relegated to moderate obscurity in modern times, Cabernet Franc is in fact the proud parent of the attention-hogging Cabernet Sauvignon (after an illicit affair with Sauvignon Blanc a hundred-odd years ago). Cabernet Franc has remained close to its roots in France, enjoying small pockets of popularity primarily in the Loire Valley (specifically in Chinon), where it is often bottled as a varietal...
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