2018 Domaine Agnès et Xavier Amirault, St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Rouge, Les Quarterons, Loire Valley Red Wine, France.
This unmistakable Loire Valley red, 100% organic Cabernet Franc, is an absolute raw beauty in the glass with a deep purple/garnet color and an earthy nose it doesn’t take long to seduce Cab Franc fans and it opens up to reveal a medium/full palate of dark berry, currant and plum fruits with hints of spice, mineral and kirsch. After getting some air the dimension fills out and the wine gains leather, tar, black licorice, mint, violets and a touch of bell pepper, all in all, an almost perfect example of this varietal and a wine to be enjoyed with a range of simple country dishes. The winery, which doesn’t use any new oak at all, employed a no wood approach here in this Les Quarterons, using 100% de-stemmed berries it was fermented in stainless steel with natural yeasts and saw a maceration of about three weeks before the wine was racked to concrete vats to age, which typically it does on the fine lees for 12 months. This wine is sourced from a parcel that has sand, gravel, dense hardpan and lots of minerally clay soils that brings a burst of fruit and a complex depth of flavors, all of which are sublimely highlighted here with this 2018 vintage. Those that like Chinon, Saumur-Champigny and Bourgueil reds should really check out these Domaine Xavier et Agnès Amirault offerings, especially this delicious Les Quarterons, with it’s old world charm and its finely balanced profile, with its well integrated, almost supple, tannins and fresh acidity.

Located in the tiny sub-zone of St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in the Loire Valley, the Domaine Amirault, who’s estate’s heart and soul is their Clos des Quarterons, which is a 92-acre vineyard planted on gravelly pebbles, sand and clay based soils. This pime spot is blessed with 53 separate parcels of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc that provides (the) grapes for a range of varietally pure wines, like this Les Quarterons Rouge, as well as a fine Crémant de Loire sparkling wine. The Domaine has been in the Amirault family for six generations and is currently managed by Xavier Amirault and his wife, Agnès, who have carried on making traditional wines from 100% certified organic by Ecocert and certified biodynamic by Demeter vines. The winery says that their biodynamic methods focus on both the environment and the terroir, which is the combination of soil, place, climate, varietal, and the holistic farming that they believe gives the wine here a soulful and pure expression of place. This winery, which was all new to me, is imported by Vineyard Brands, who have an excellent portfolio of regional France wines, and I was very excited by what I tasted here in this Cabernet Franc, and while the winery suggests drinking this one young and fresh, I can see some aging potential here as well, making me want to grab a few more bottles. The area of St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, is not very common terroir on labels here in the states, though certainly Bourgueil proper is, with many excellent examples, including one of my favorite wineries, Domaine Pierre et Catherine Breton, so it was thrill to discover Domaine Amirault, it is a label to watch.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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