2015 Francois Chidaine Touraine Rouge
Region: Touraine < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: equal parts Cab Franc, Cot (aka Malbec), Pinot d’Aunis
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Demeter certified biodynamic farming; fermented in stainless tank, aged in neutral barrels; 350 cases
Winemaker: Francois Chidaine
Francois Chidaine is one of the France’s most revered – and established – natural wine makers. He’s got prime vineyard sites, all farmed biodynamically (Demeter certified since 2003) but doesn’t allow any mention of this on his bottles. For him, it is the only way to work and he doesn’t care about the marketing value. Nor about cashing in on his reputation, as his wines consistently offer the best quality for value ratio in the Loire. He’s in Montlouis, directly across the Loire from Vouvray river – a region more famous for its Chenin-based whites. And while Francois, accordingly, is known primarily for his great whites, he’s been farming a few vineyards of local red varietals for several years to make this simple table wine that punches WAY above its weight. It’s refined, delicious glou-glou, with good concentration of red and black cherry fruit plus beguiling violet and pepper, medium tannins, bright acidity and the minerality you expect from these rocky soils. All these elements alchemize to make it the ultimate food wine for with difficult pairings. Spicy chili – yes! Salmon – yes! Tacos – yes! At this price, this should be your house red. I know this line sounds like a broken record, but please, serve it with a slight chill. Trust me.