Grape: Cabernet Franc
Geography: Loire Valley, France
Just outside of the village of Benais, in the heart of the Touraine, sits the lovely Domaine de la Chanteleuserie. This â€œplace where the larks sing,â€? as the name means, is perched on a limestone plateau in an idyllic landscape. Moise Boucard, a respected vigneron whom Kermit discovered in 1976, has not only given his good sense of humor and modesty to his son, Thierry, but his winemaking skills, too. The seventh generation of winegrowers at Chanteleuserie and the second generation to be working with KLWM, Thierry now shares the domaine with his wife, Christine.
This is the land of Cabernet Franc, better known locally as â€œBreton.â€? While some vignerons in the area add up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Boucards make pure varietal wines. Bourgueil is among the most age-worthy of the Loire Valleyâ€™s reds, and the wines from Domaine de la Chanteleuserie are no exception: their 1976 still drinks well today! Despite their structure, these wines have a suppleness and generosity of fruit that set them apart from most wines produced in the area today.
The Chanteleuserie vineyards enjoy full southern exposure on limestone and clay, with a subsoil of porous, chalky tuffeau that also provides cellars with naturally ideal aging conditions. Thierry keeps yields low and protects his harvest by bringing the grapes in quickly and keeping them cool during destemming. Temperature control continues during fermentation to preserve freshness and acidity, thereby avoiding the rude tannic bite found in some Bourgueils. The wines are later racked into foudres for additional roundness of texture and depth. The â€œCuvÃ©e Alouettes,â€? alluding to the name of the domaine, is fresh, supple, fruity, and ready to be drunk young. The Bourgueil â€œVieilles Vignesâ€? hails from vines 40-80 years old, and the â€œCuvÃ©e Beauvais,â€? from one of Bourgueilâ€™s greatest sites, originates from the tuffeau hillsides near the domaine. Both are delicious young and outstanding when aged.