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2011 Chinon, Vieilles Vignes, Patrick Lambert
Located in the small village of Cravant les Coteaux, close to Chinon, Patrick Lambert, along with his wife Nadia, began their story in 1990.
They now own 6.34ha of 100% Cabernet Franc of up to 60 years old on the classic gravel, sand and limestone soils that flank the river Loire.
They make classic, traditional Chinon, harvested by hand; the Cabernet Franc being macerated on its skins for up to 28 days.
Elevage takes place in old foudres, 225 litre French barrels, inside an ancient cellar burrowed deep into the chalk/tufo banks.
From vintage 2014 their vineyards will be ECOCERT certified as organic
Cabernet Franc is widely planted in Bordeaux and is the most important black grape grown in the Loire. In the Médoc it may constitute up to 15% of a typical vineyard - it is always blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and is used to add bouquet and complexity to the wines. It is more widely used in St.Emilion where it adapts well to the cooler and moister clay soils - Cheval Blanc is the most famous Cabernet Franc wine in the world, with the final blend consisting of up to 65% of the grape.
Cabernet Franc thrives in the Loire where the cooler growing conditions serve to accentuate the grape's herbaceous, grassy, lead pencil aromas. The best wines come from the tuffeaux limestone slopes of Chinon and Bourgeil where growers such as Jacky Blot produce intense well-structured wines that possess excellent cellaring potential.
Chinon is an important appellation for the Cabernet Franc grape, located within the Touraine wine region just to the west of Tours. At approximately 2,500 hectares, it represents a slightly larger zone than its neighbour Bourgueil. Part of the appellation, closest to its other voisin St Nicolas de Bourgueil, possesses light, sandy gravel soils to give an easy drinking style, while the remainder is blessed with a tuffeau subsoil from which the wines draw a finer structure and longevity. Neither style approaches the fullness of Bourgueil however.