I try to stay away from controversial subjects… Nothing ruins a good glass of wine faster than unpopular sentiment.
So it is with reluctance that I mention the topic of global warming. I don’t actually believe in those prognosticators of doom and gloom who say that the Earth is merrily on its way to becoming a spinning ball of arid dust… Maybe I should, but the data feels somewhat disingenuous. Now, what does this have to do with wine?
Well, recent warming trends in Europe have dramatically changed the quality and style of several wines… Pinot Noir is now growing at ripeness levels in the south of England to actually cause a spike in sparkling wine production there – watch out Champagne! And, Cabernet Franc is growing well enough in the Loire to actually produce red wines of uncharacteristic fruitiness…
It used to be that most vintages of Loire-based Cabernet Franc tasted more like bell peppers and grape stems than anything else. I liked the wines in great vintages and found them to be eclectic, like Pinot Noir from the Alsace, but I can’t say I really loved them.
As I said, though, recent vintages are producing a lusher, more fruit forward version of Cabernet Franc and the Château du Hureau is a perfect example. Château du Hureau is located in the small town of Dampierre sur Loire, which is about four miles east of Saumur. The name of the Château, hureau means old, solitary boar, which is represented on the weathervane topping the octagonal tower looming large over the property, an impressive estate carved out of the limestone cliffs sometime in the 13th century. There are 17 hectares (approximately 42 acres) arrayed in 21 separate vineyard plots that are spread around the towns of Dampierre Sur Loire, Souzay, Champigny and Saumur and they are all planted with Cabernet Franc. The commonality among the vineyards and where this wine derives its name, Tuffe is a soft, chalky limestone from the Cretaceous period that underlies the soil.
A definite crowd pleaser, this wine showcases the loveliness of Cabernet Franc grown under the correct conditions…
My tasting note:
Fruity nose with red berry, chalk and wildflower hints – very pretty. Medium-bodied with moderate acidity and firm tannin – good balance. Dark fruit core with sour cherry, tea leaf and wet stone notes. Moderate length with a tight finish. Drinking well and should improve with another 2 to 3 years in bottle.
At an average bottle price of $15.99 before the discount, this wine is a respectable value.