Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2006 Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon "Clos des Capucins"


Holy crap. This wine is rad. From the Clos des Capucins vineyard. 26$ at K&L, and unbeknowst to me until I looked just now, a 92 in the Wine Spectator. A 92 for a Cabernet Franc based wine in Wine Spectator? I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing...this is a bit more on the modern side, but has not lost it's Cab Franc-ness. Raffault has been owned by the same family since 1693. In other words, this is older than the US. The estate is just old period. The Clos des Capucins vineyard was orginally planted in 1790. So it's pretty damn old too. When I hear stuff like this, it really puts US wine in perspective. Afterall, this esate has been experimenting and growing Cabernet Franc for over 400 years...in the US, the oldest estates aren't even close to that old--and the oldest probably went out of production during Prohibition. And I wonder why I don't find the US to be as exciting...

To be fair, this Chinon is more New World and fruity than I have come to expect from Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. Typically, there's a forward savory component and less fruit. This one is flip-flopped. There is a ton of stuff going on in the nose--blackberry, a bit of olive, cherry, raspberry, pencil lead, spices, and pepper. Flavor wise, it's raspberry-ish, with lots of cocoa and spice accents. It's a little hollow in the mid-palate, but that's the only flaw that I can find.  Minerally, raspberry finish. Killer. A

7 comments:

CabFrancoPhile said...

Got a bottle of this. Sounds like it's really good, quite along the lines of what I look for in a Chinon. Riper style, modern, but not spoofulated or overripe.

I read somewhere, I think on Jim's Loire, that Raffault no longer has the lease on Clos des Capucins. Hmmmm.

Jeff said...

Your comment is accurate...riper, but not spoofulated. It is really good, and perfectly ready to drink right now. There aren't any really rough edges. I think that you can tell that it's maybe from a vintage that isn't quite as good--it's a little thin in the mid-palate, and it doesn't have a ton of tannin that needs to soften. I don't think that this could age for that much longer. Seems like the tannins are pretty much completely integrated.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I'm still tempted to give it a few years to see what happens. There are definitely wines that are undrinkable young due to tannins. But I've heard quality as much as quantity matters with tannins. And acidity is also really important. Acidity is pretty much a given in the Loire. So I'm thinking it might evolve where a medium bodied Cali wine would merely hold together at best.

Jeff said...

I don't think that it will hurt to leave it for a few years. I'm no expert, but it's completely drinkable right now and I don't think it's going to get much better. Plus it's drinking really well right now...Of course, I am not into delayed gratification just as a general rule of thumb.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I guess I'm looking to cultivate some secondary bottle aromas, like leather, cigar box, etc. But I also prefer fresh fruit flavors to dried out fruit. So it's probably a trade-off in some ways. On the other hand, Loire reds are often pretty complex to start.

Jim said...

Sounds like a great bottle. I'll look for it.

By the way I tweeted a link to this post (see here: http://twitter.com/vinegeek/status/5187379449). Are you on Twitter?

Jeff said...

Jim--

Thanks for the Tweet. Yeah, just signed up for Twitter the other day. (@Vivalawino)...not sure how I feel about it, but everyone seems to be on it. I"m following you already. Pick up a bottle. This one's great, and inexpensive.

Jeff