2018 Laurent Herlin, Cabernet Franc “Tsoin-Tsoin” Vin de France, Loire Valley, France.
The bright and strawberry juicy Tsoin-Tsoin by natural wine new comer (to the USA) Laurent Herlin is a easy to drink and quaffable Glou Glou red made from 100% organic Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, of which I served chilled for its low alcohol and lighter fresh detail. This wine is insanely popular and I missed out on last years, so I begged importer, Floraison Selections, to let me a have a few bottles on its latest release and I’m glad I dd as it performed with a clean and zesty panache in the glass with a ruby/magenta hue and without any reductive funk, pyrasines or overt kambucha tea notes that can flaw up a natural wine. I had been highly impressed with Herlin’s other bottlings I tried last vintage and while I was excited about this Tsoin-Tsoin, it didn’t let me down and while not serious or complex it met expectations for fun. Vibrant sweet and sour cherry, the mentioned strawberry and tangy plum fruits lead the way here with a touch herbs, spice and mineral tones on the dry light/medium bodied palate that makes this simple Franc joyous with picnics and warm afternoon meals. The Tsoin-Tsoin does what is asked and plays well with Summer meals, I like it with beet salad and goat cheese, as well as with mussels in spicy broth, but it can just as happily be enjoyed on its own, while Herlin’s ‘Cintre’ Petillant Naturel (Pet-Nat) and his Bourgueil Rouge are much more serious expressions of varietal (Cabernet Franc), terroir and substance, they are very much worth searching out as well.
Laurent Herlin, according to Nadia Dmytriw, his importer, has been working without chemical inputs since 2009 and his wines are lively and expressive like the soils where his vines are planted, adding that, these wines are a true pleasure to drink, especially for those that are natural and organic wine fans that also want as low a sulphur footprint as possible, as many of his offerings come Sans Soulfre. This 2018 Tsoin-Tsoin was made with with full carbonic maceration with the Cab Franc coming from his biodynamically grown vines, which lie within the Loire’s Bourgueil zone. Following a 2-year training in Beaune in Burgundy, Herlin worked as a trainee in several vineyards, before setting out on his own, knowing he wanted a close connection to the land and wanted to work as naturally as can be. His rise has been quick and he now grows wine on about 6 hectares in the Bourgueil AOC, on limestone soils, even though do to his styles most are not labeled as such, he as mentioned works to, as he puts it, a biodynamic culture (following Demeter rules) and is certified by Ecocert. Herlin makes his wines with a nod to rustic old school traditions, using only native yeasts and, this one saw no oak, but has not been afraid to experiment, with this wine being a playful expression. Without a long family history here or in wine he doesn’t have an ancient cellar, Herlin makes his wine in storehouse on an old farm in the tiny village of Chouze sur Loire. The Tsoin-Tsoin Cab Franc from Lauent Herlin should be drunk family youthful, not that it would be that hard, over the course of the next 6 months to a year, there is no reason to wait.
($21 Est.) 86 Points, grapelive