2014 La Source du Ruault, Saumur Champigny “Clos de la Cote” Loire Valley, France.
This beautiful and stylish 100% Cabernet Franc Clos de la Cote, from Jean Noel Millon at La Source du Ruault in his 300 year old cellars carved from the limestone at his family’s estate in the Loire Valley’s Saumur Champigny AOC, is drinking wonderfully with the few extra years of age on it having softened the texture and the pure Cab Franc character is on full display. This dark garnet Saumur Champigny comes from all organic estate vines that are set on the classic tuffeau (chalky limestone) and hardened clay soils that Millon hand tends and harvests to make the Clos de la Cote, a special cuvee he’s made since the 2009 vintage, it is a wine of place that in Millon’s own words, tells a story of the year and nakedly gives every detail, with this 2014 being a wine of classic flavors and should age with exceptional grace. Fans of old school and rustic Cabernet Franc will find joy in this vintage, while those discovering Loire Franc with enjoy the smooth and transparent palate that is rich with blackberry, plum, current and kirsch as well as delicate black olive, crushed stone, anise and dried violets, it proves to be an excellent example of terroir driven and varietal correct Cabernet Franc with soft tannins and does not have distracting flaws, like Brettanomyces “Brett” or off putting aggressive raw green bell pepper, this only hints at it and flows nicely and finishes with weightless length.

Jean Noël Millon, a seventh generation vigneron, was completely unknown to me until I got this wine, who’s aim is to craft authentic wines that show the nature of his region and his family’s land, which this 2014 Clos de la Cote does to near perfection. This cuvee which is the top version of Cabernet Franc is naturally fermented and raised primarily in vat as well as neutral cask to express the grapes in their purist form. Millon took over his family’s Domaine in 1998 and has worked his way into the spotlight through intense hard work, he has 12 hectares of vines that he cares for, 10 being Cabernet Franc, with an only 1 hectare old vine parcel used for this Clos de la Cote, and 2 hectares of Chenin Blanc, from which he make two bottlings, that I will be searching out! The 2014 really opens up with air, it gains depth and richness in the glass with the addition of savory notes, light smokiness as well as cigar wrapper, cedar and framboise notes. This wine from La Source du Ruault is a delicious and vinous Cabernet Franc that looks to provide fine drinking pleasure for another ten to fifteen years, even though its lovely silken character makes it easy to love now. This domaine was a really an unexpected find and I look forward to more wines from Jean Noel Millon, this wine is not loud, but sings in a fine voice, I recommend grabbing it while you can.
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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