2020 Château de Parnay Le Blason – Régis Vincenot et Fils, Saumur-Champigny “Le Blason de Parnay” Loire Valley, France.
The raw and earthy Saumur-Champigny from Château de Parnay Le Blason shows off a pure and retrained palate of classic or old school Cab Franc flavors with wild plum, dark cherry, currant and red berry fruits along with earthy/leathery accents, bell pepper, minty herb, anise, chalky stones, forest floor and delicate violet florals. This exclusively vat raised Cabernet Franc has ripe personality and a nicely weighted old vine medium bodied mouth feel with soft tannins, that provide structure without aggressive bite, making for a very food friendly wine. Coming from vines grown on yellowish-cream colored, chalky, and sandy limestone soils, which is widely known as tuffeau, a soil type that is, as the winery notes, unique to the Loire Valley, contributing to the personality and authenticity of these wines. This was my first experience with Château de Parnay, that is in the Saumur-Champigny area, and I tasted this wine blind, and I was at first not overly impressed, but as it opened up I found more and more to enjoy here, it went from a mediocre wine into one with rustic charm, again it deserves time and food to show off its full character.

This historic property was taken over by Mathias Levron & Régis Vincenot back in 2006 with the aim, the say, of restoring the property to its former glory and produce true terroir and authentic wines, which they accomplished over the years and now they are getting their rewards for that hard work. The Château de Parnay, which was certified organic in 2013, is a notable estate of the AOC Saumur Champigny region that is located right along the Loire River. The tuffeau limestone influences the wines and was used to build the châteaux itself, and the caves were cut out of it too, it is in the soul of the place! The Cab Franc grapes for Le Blason were carefully selected and hand harvested for this wine and it saw a cold soak and maceration on the skins for three days, after which it was fermented for 12 days with a gentle extraction. This pure and earthy 100% Cabernet Franc saw no oak, exclusively aging in tank to highlight the sense of place and it is wine that will appeal to those that like austere and classic versions of Loire Valley Franc, with this one being much more compelling with food. Again, this wine took some time to reveal its best and range of complexity and overcome the green or the natural pyrazines here, and in the end I admired the depth and transparency in this Saumur-Champigny “Le Blason de Parnay” rouge.
($24 Est.) 89 Points, grapelive

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