From: Loire Valley, France
Varietal: Cabernet Franc
Taste: Gorgeously fresh and fragrant, featuring bright red berries that meet a hint of spice and herb canopied by beautiful floral overtones and underscored by a stony minerality. Deliciously easy to drink, we recommend serving this wine slightly chilled (cellar temp).
Pairing: Pair this fresh Chinon with a range of foods, starting with our favorite snack: charcuterie and goat cheese. Other ideas include serving alongside roasted chicken, pâté, rillettes, sausages, roast veal, chicken or turkey meatballs and gravy (see the recipe below for a twist), lamb sausages or with dishes that incorporate vinegar-based sauces.
Korean BBQ-Style Meatballs
By Kay Chun
This wine. Messanges—Messanges is an old Loire Valley name for Cabernet Franc. Bertrand is using this line for a Red and Rosé from his younger vines. Vinified for immediate accessibility, they are the perfect introduction to the Pallus style.
Domaine de Pallus Messanges is a pure expression of Cabernet Franc. The grapes used for this cuvée are macerated for five days. Messanges is then aged in concrete tanks and stainless steel for over 6 months.
About. Many thanks to importer, Rare Wine Co. for the information that follows. Overview.
- Bertrand Sourdais’ Domaine de Pallus holds prime parcels in Cravant-les-Côteaux, in the heart of the golden slope facing the Vienne River from Chinon to Panzoult.
- The estate’s flagship Chinon, “Les Pensées de Pallus” represents Bertrand’s idea of classic Chinon, while the limited-production single-vineyard wines represent distinct terroirs.
- Bertrand employs long, gentle extractions and patient aging in used Burgundian wood to craft the majority of his wines.
For many Bordeaux wine partisans, it's a matter of faith that if you want the best Cabernet Franc, you should go to St. Émilion or Pomerol on Bordeaux’s Right Bank.
True, the unrivaled majesty of Cheval Blanc is largely due to its two-thirds Cabernet Franc. But you'd be hard-pressed to find another major Bordeaux château willing to put Cabernet Franc in the spotlight.
It's different in the Loire valley, where for centuries, great, pure Cabernet Franc has been grown very quietly in the vicinities of Chinon, Bourgeuil and Saumur. The best wines have incredible texture and perfume, and finally the world is waking up to their compelling beauty. The "discovery" of Clos Rougeard has surely helped spike that movement, but a host of Loire Valley producers are now carrying the banner for this variety’s extraordinary potential.
One of these producers is Bertrand Sourdais, whose recent work at his family’s estate places him among the finest Cabernet Franc producers in the world today.
The Return. Bertrand grew up at Pallus but decamped for Spain after completing his enology studies in Bordeaux. While achieving stardom in Spain, Bertrand remained passionate about his native Chinon, and for its emblematic variety, Cabernet Franc. And so, it was inevitable that he would someday apply his gifts at his family’s estate.
In the early 2000s, with his father’s retirement nearing, Bertrand took up the challenge of creating something great at Pallus. In Spain, he had learned to question orthodoxy and—in returning to Pallus—he believed he could chart a new course.
His goal, ultimately, was to honor Chinon’s soils and its ancient traditions. But he knew that do so he would need to correct the flaws that persisted in the region’s traditional methods, while avoiding the mistakes typically made by modernists.
The Quest. Bertrand began his quest in the autumn of 2003. From the start, he has worked in the vineyards to create harmony and balance, while striving tirelessly to find the potential of each vine. And though biodynamics have become an important tool for many Loire Valley growers, they were merely a starting point in Bertrand’s quest to set his vineyards on the right path.
Of course, he has completely rethought the winemaking process; often reverting to techniques favored by much earlier generations. He is employing extended macerations—up to an astonishing forty days—to capture the “true” personality of Chinon. Elévage is similarly long and gentle; he primarily ages his wines in used barrels from elite Burgundy estates. The wines are handled less, and bottled later, than those of almost any other domaine in Chinon.
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