2012 Baudry Chinon Les Granges

Hello friends. For today’s offer, I broke one of my regular rules, which is that our order of events at Full Pull should be 1) offer wine; 2) buy wine.

In this case, we bought the entire parcel that just arrived in Seattle on the day we tasted the wine. This is just such a reference-point producer for Chinon, and Louis/Dressner doesn’t allocate much to Seattle, and restaurants tend to snap it up for glass-pour, that I decided to pull the trigger and pre-purchase. This wine is in the warehouse and ready to go.

We offered the 2011 vintage about a year ago, and as I mentioned then, the Loire Valley is the value garden of France. While Bordeaux and Burgundy command ever escalating prices, the Loire keeps chugging along, sending us containers of transparent, delicious, well-priced wines. A rule of thumb I suggest to friends when perusing a long restaurant wine list: find the Loire. Muscadets, Vouvrays, Savennieres, Jasnieres, Chinons, Saumurs, Bourgeuils: they’re almost without fail the finest values on the menu, and the most complementary of food.

But the Loire is a big place, so let’s get oriented. Chinon is region #22 on this map, right there along the Vienne River, one of the tributaries of the greater Loire. In fact, Baudry’s vines for Les Granges are literally right next to the river, so much so that he is known to prune the outer plants via rowboat. That, my friends, is some bucolic winegrowing.

Bernard Baudry has been making wine since 1982, and his son Matthieu now joins him at the domaine. He is revered among lovers of Chinon for the purity and transparency of his Cabernet Francs, as well as the attention he pays to terroir. To wit, check out this display at the winery, showing each of his bottlings on top of their respective soil types. Les Granges (the leftmost) comes from a combination of sand and limestone (that limestone is famous in this region, and as you can see in these pictures – one, two – the Baudry caves are hewn right into the lime cliffs). It is the youngest vineyard that Baudry works with, but youth is relative here: these vines were planted in 1985, so they’ll celebrate their 30th birthday next year.

For more great pictures, check out this visit report from the Louis/Dressner team from winter 2013. And for a delicious Cabernet Franc, check out this Chinon, which starts with the classic mix of flowers, tea leaves, smoky peppers, and black fruit. So appetizing. In the mouth, this possesses an effortless palate-coating character, with leafy black fruit transitioning into a finish with loads of old-world minerality and earthiness. While the textural heft and toothsomeness evoke Cabernet Sauvignon, the flavor profile is uniquely Franc, that alluring mix of fruit and veg, earth and flower.

I think our list members will plow through all of this, but if not, I’ll happily stash a bunch away in my own cellar. Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine is in the warehouse and ready for immediate pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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