Grape(s): 100% Cabernet Franc
Localization: Touraine, Loire, France
Tasting Notes: The wine develops very well on the nose with notes of blackcurrant, red fruits, a subtle saltiness and some earthy flavors. The taste is complex; firm tannins, dark fruits and duration on the palate.
Notes: One of the most voluptuous, concentrated styles of Chinon you’ll ever taste! Most of the Alliet vineyards, now totaling about 17 hectares in the village of Cravant-les-Coteaux, are in alluvial (i.e. gravelly) flatlands close to the Loire River, but they’ve added sites up on the clay/limestone hillsides as well. Most of their plantings are Cabernet Franc, and yields are kept fanatically low; Alliet is a regular visitor to Bordeaux and takes inspiration from its wines in crafting his own, which do have an aristocratic quality to them. The vieilles vignes (“old vines”) supplying this bottling are, appropriately enough, old—about 60 years—and the hand-harvested grapes are completely de-stemmed (a contributor to the wine’s plush texture) before fermentation in cement vats. Aging is done in used barriques, and indeed the oak influence on the wine is very restrained.
The Domain: Father-son team Philippe and Pierre Alliet are the proprietors of this small domaine in Cravant-les-Côteaux, home to some of the best Cabernet Franc vineyards in the Loire Valley. Considered by many to be one of the finest producers in Chinon, the Alliets are part of a new generation of Loire winemakers dedicated to low yields, optimally ripe fruit, and fastidious vineyard management. From their 30 acres domaine, they produce a stunning lineup of 100% Cabernet Franc wines: a basic Chinon of great purity and balance; 'Vieilles Vignes' a gravel-grown cuvée from 60+ year-old vines that is aged in cement; 'L’Huisserie' that is grown on a south-facing limestone laden slope and aged in 500L barrels; and 'Côteau de Noire' aged in barriques and grown on a famed steep site, known as one of the top single-vineyards in all of Chinon.
Across the range, the grapes are totally de-stemmed in an effort to reduce the vegetal characteristics often associated with Loire Valley reds and only indigenous yeasts are used in the cellar. Each year, this domaine raises the bar for what is possible with Cabernet Franc in Chinon. They effortlessly display the privileged terroir and winemaking excellence that their family possesses, while also maintaining a deliciousness that allows the wines to be enjoyed young or after decades of aging. This is a true top-flight, and benchmark estate.