The harvest in France is underway – above Domaine Girard – and what better way to celebrate it than with two reds that are bursting with the young juicy fruit flavours of Cabernet Franc, brought to optimal ripeness in the hills of the Languedoc!
Cabernet Franc originally hails from the Libourne area of South West France, where it has been used with great success in Saint Emilion and other Bordeaux blends for centuries. Here it is blended with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Elsewhere in the Loire, it is the sole grape in most of their best reds, like Chinon or Bourgueil. In recent years it has been planted further South, and provided it is grown in a terroir that avoids it becoming too ripe, it can produce wines with tremendous fruit and drinkability. We have found two great examples, from a couple of our favourite vignerons, that are perfect for Summer drinking.
A Mixed Case of three bottles of each of –
Aux Quatre Vents 2018
This is made from 50% Cabernet franc, 30% Mourvèdre and 20% old vine Grenache. The terroir of the vineyard is arid and situated in the hilly garrigue around Saint Chinian. The grapes are hand-picked and then vinified separately before being matured in large oak casks for just six months.
The wine is deep purple in colour with a blackberry nose with beguiling hints of wild herbs. In the mouth it is very soft, packed with brambley fruit and hints of redcurrants. There is very little tannin, and it is just perfect for every day drinking. Extremely quaffable!
Domaine Girard Tradition 2018
Philippe Girard’s vineyard is planted at an altitude of 350 metres, which is crucial in ensuring that the Cabernet Franc doesn’t over-ripen. His wine is made from 40% Cabernet Franc with 60% Merlot. It is vinified in stainless steel with no oak ageing.
It is a dense purple colour, and the nose greets you with an intense perfume of blackcurrants. This is followed through on the palate with rich, silky cassis flavours and soft ripe tannins. This just cries out for lamb grilled with herbs.
It was a well-deserved winner of a Coup d’Éclat in the prestigious Guide Hachette!
Superb now but with enough complexity and structure to age well over the next fiver years. The only other stockist in the UK sells it for £12.50…