From: Loire Valley, France
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Taste: The 2018 Vieilles Vignes shows a dense red/purple color with bright rim with ripe, floral aromas of black raspberry with earth and citrus, very typical and beautifully concentrated "Bourgueil." The palate is ripe and dense but nicely balanced for a 2018 with deep black raspberry/cassis fruit with firm acidity and chalky minerals in the finish. This is a lovely Bourgueil to drink over the next five years.
Pairing: From the wine-wise advice from Wine Folly. “Medium-bodied wines like Cabernet Franc can pair with a wide variety of foods due to their natural high acidity and slightly reduced tannin (the astringent quality in red wine). Higher acidity makes it possible to pair with tomato-based dishes, vinegar-based sauces (smoky BBQ anyone?) or rich veggies like black beluga lentils. If you learn only one tip about pairing Cabernet Franc, it is to match it with real herbs in your dish.”
Real herbs in the dish? Yep. The reason for that success lies in its origins; Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley = Cabernet Franc from France’s garden. The Loire has affectionately been called France’s garden, and for good reason. The best produce grows there! Asparagus, white asparagus, especially around Chinon (close to Bourgueil) are specialties of the area and (while difficult to pair in general) fit wonderfully well with white and red wines of the region.
To accentuate Cabernet Franc’s pairing ease with fresh ingredients, vinegar-based sauces, and a wide array of cuisine, we’re sharing a pairing for Pork Dumplings! Recipe from Helen You, adapted by Tejal Rao.
The story of Lamé-Delisle-Boucard begins with Pierre Guyot, who founded the domaine in 1869. His son-in-law Jules Lamé was able to keep the operation afloat through the ravages of phylloxera with a small but locally renowned grafting business, which augmented the family’s modest production of wine grapes, vegetables, and fruits. Jules’s son Lucien married a local woman, Yvonne Delisle, in 1938, and it was Yvonne who kept the farm functioning during the long years Lucien languished in a World War II POW camp. Upon Lucien’s return from the war, the family decided to begin bottling their own wine and commercializing it, commencing with the 1947 vintage—far before most growers in the region entertained such notions. In 1965, Lucien and Yvonne’s only child Maryvonne, born just after the war in 1946, married a young man from the neighboring winegrowing village of Benais, René Boucard, and the winery’s name stands as a testament to the intertwining of these three families over the 20th century’s tumultuous course. Philippe, the steward of our mind-bending cellar experience, is the only son of Maryvonne and René, and he has been at the helm of the domaine since 1989.
Over the years, the family augmented their holdings little by little, and Lamé-Delisle-Boucard today encompasses 47 hectares of vines, averaging 40 years of age and spread among four villages within the Bourgueil appellation: 21 hectares in Ingrandes de Touraine, encompassing soils of gravel, siliceous clay, and clay-limestone; 13.5 hectares in Saint Patrice, with soils of siliceous clay and well-draining large-stoned gravel; 8.5 hectares in Restigné, with vines planted in sandy soil and gravelly clay; and 4 hectares in the limestone-rich soils of Benais. Philippe and his crew work their 61 parcels without chemicals, having transitioned from Terra Vitis certification (beginning in 2001) to full-on organic viticulture (to be certified as of the 2021 harvest). Grass is maintained between the rows of vines, which are planted at a density of 5,000 per hectare, and meadows and woods interspersed among the parcels are allowed to flourish, thereby contributing to overall biodiversity. Harvest is conducted entirely by hand.
In Lamé-Delisle-Boucard’s spacious, no-frills cellar, all 61 parcels are vinified separately, according to their terroir: sandy and gravelly plots are vinified in steel, and clay-limestone plots are vinified in very old tronconic wooden casks, with macerations averaging 15 days. Generally speaking, the wines age for one year in old 20- to 25-hectoliter foudres with no racking, and only a very light filtration is applied at bottling. This type of time-tested, unflashy elevage results in wines of extraordinarily rendered tannins, with well-integrated acidity and precise, lip-smacking fruit. This is Bourgueil whose power derives from the zone’s intense minerality rather than any sort of cellar tomfoolery, and tasting the spot-on equilibrium in the current releases makes one realize why they age so well and for so long.
This wine. Lamé-Delisle-Boucard’s “Vieilles Vignes” is pure Cabernet Franc exclusively from vines over 40 years of age in the commune of Ingrandes de Touraine—part from the sandy gravel terraces of the lieu-dit Louys, and part from hillside plantings in the clay-limestone of Mont Sigou. This cuvée undergoes alcoholic fermentation in tronconic oak casks with a 10-day maceration, then spends a year in large, very old 25-hectoliter foudres.
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