© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

 

© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

Older: Standing out from the plain

Cabernet franc and sense

Chinon PierreJacquesDruetIt’s not common to come across old Chinon for sale. Majestic currently have Château Danzay 2001 Pierre-Jacques Druet on offer from £11.99 to £9.99 if you buy at least two as part of a six plus bottle total purchase (offer as at 14 February 2012). The normal wisdom with Chinon is to drink it young when its cabernet franc is full of crunchy, capsicum-edged fruit. Age mellows it considerably, and it has to be said that there is more than a chance that some bottles might prove to be washed out completely. That caveat in place, the two that I have enjoyed so far have been magnificent, but both decidedly different from one another. The first was notable for its aroma of rotty undergrowth and its elegant, attenuated fruit — cedary cassis on the one hand, and something more reminiscent of old pinot on the other. The second was younger and fresher, unmistakably cabernet franc, still with a measure of its crunch intact. I look forward to the delights that my remaining bottles will have to spring on me. Full marks to Majestic for going off piste with this one.

Indeed, I wonder if there isn’t a franc fanatic closeted somewhere amongst the buyers.

Bourgueil Fronton RaatsAlso well worthy of mention is there 03 Bourgueil Les Cent Boisselées (again by Druet; £8.99 if you buy 2 as part of your half dozen plus). This is more herbaceous than the Chinon, with a savoury meaty note behind its elderberry fruit. Intriguing, complex and, again, old. Be warned: there’s very little of it about. Add in also their newly acquired, brightly fruity and unusually spicy Raats Granite Blocks Cabernet Franc 2010 from South Africa (down to £7.99 at present; same offer terms), and their liquorice toffee tinged negrette/franc blend from Fronton (Château Jouaninel 2009, offered similarly at just £6.99 right now) and you begin to get a picture of commendably adventurous buying and something more than casual franc-ophilia.

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