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Cabernet Franc can be a temperamental grape. At its worst, it produces wines that can be flabby, lightweight, and overly green. But at its best, Cabernet Franc produces wines of depth and complexity that rival the best of the best. Catherine and Pierre Breton’s work with the grape certainly falls into the latter category. Their wines are soulful, layered, and age-worthy, and they are among the masters of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc.
The Bretons are located in Bourgueil, in the center of the Loire Valley near Touraine. Along with its neighbor Chinon, Bourgueil is known as an epicenter of Cabernet Franc. Catherine and Pierre’s biodynamic farming methods highlight the grape’s potential for creating wines that display ripeness and energy all at once. There’s no mistaking that the couple’s top bottling, Les Perrières, is a big, serious wine. But it also exhibits wonderful acidity, keeping the wine from becoming spineless and overblown and allowing for maximum age-ability.
While this bottle will continue to develop over the following years and decades, it shows wonderfully well right now. After a decant, it exudes notes of ripe red fruit, herbs, tobacco, and chalky minerality. Oak usage is deft and moderated, adding spice without overpowering the fruit. You’ll want to serve it alongside something rich and hearty, like a pozole or beef stew, as its ample personality can overwhelm more delicate dishes.