May Imported Wine: 2011 Couly-Dutheil “Les Gravières” Chinon, Loire, FRANCE
Established in 1921 by Baptiste Dutheil, then developped by René Couly who married Madeleine Dutheil, the House of Couly-Dutheil has become the great name for Chinon. Today, Couly-Dutheil remains a family house owned by the third and fouth generation.
The Chinon region has all the qualities of the greatest soils. Its semi-oceanic climate is exceptionally mild and benefits of long sunny periods. The variety of soils and their particular qualities allows the Cabernet-Franc (98% of the vineyard) to express all its finesse and its celebrated “taffetas” within a range of strong personalities.
The sandy and gravelly plains along the Vienne river provide a great back drop for thirst quenching, light and fruity wines. The clay and flinty slopes, and flat-lands produce fine and subtle wines, while the clay and chalky hills bare sumptuous wines meant for ageing.
History of Chinon (Cabernet Franc) and its Relation to Couly-Dutheil: Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone – as in the Loire‘s Chinon. It can be bottled as a single varietal, or used in blends as well. It can also be made into ice wine in both the United States and Canada.
Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wineand contributing finesse and a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, and cassis, sometimes even violets.
Records of Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux go back to the end of the 18th century; it was planted in Loire long before that. DNA analysis indicates Cabernet Franc is one of two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, a cross between it and Sauvignon Blanc.
Varietals: 100% Cabernet Franc
Alcohol: 13.5% by volume
Tasting Notes: Beautiful purple color, with very pleasant aromatics of green pepper and small red fruits. Fruity on the palate, making it easy to drink and very charming.
Food Pairings: A wonderful pairing with chicken, veal, and ham.
Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Loaded with an abundance of flavor! Gobs of fruit jumping out of the glass. The Chinon here is uninhibited and seamless. Layered with spicy and earthy tones; this is a great wine!”-JL