2018 Domaine du Bel Air Soif de Jour
Region: Bourgueil < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Cabernet Franc
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming (since 2000); de-stemmed and fermented using native yeasts in stainless steel tanks. Only the free run juice is used; aged 6-8 months in stainless steel tanks and bottled unfiltered with minimal So2; 11.5% ABV
Winemaker: Pierre Guathier
The Gauthiers (father and son) are the fifth generation proprietors of Domaine du Bel Air, where they make nothing but Cabernet Franc. Really good Cab Franc, in tiny quantities, that is in such high demand that scant few bottles ever appear on retail shelves. The big players in the retail market really can’t be bothered to stock these wines since there is so little available (and frankly, they’ve never heard of them, as the Gauthiers’ neither advertise nor send out free bottles to the critics for review).
Anyway, we managed to get a few cases of the ‘Jour de Soif’ (translates as ‘Thirsty Day’), which is the Gauthiers’ young vine, everyday cuvee. Fresh, bright, totally unmanipulated, this wine is juicy but not heavy, with black fruit, black olive, pepper and nice minerality. So light and quaffable, it’s one of those wines that disappear magically from your glass, especially alongside pizza or tacos. These days at home are always Thirsty Days, so we’ll be popping this value wine early and often this spring. Serve with a slight chill.