Domaine de la Colline Chinon 2003, $11

The 2003 vintage in Europe was torridly
hot, which has led wine enthusiasts to proclaim it a wonderful year ‚€“
ripe wines for a change! But it really is a mixed blessing. In areas
where ripeness is not always a problem, the 2003s required careful
tending in the vineyard and in the winery. They did not always get it,
and as a result, the vintage is really quite uneven in quality.
One place that has bowled me over with its 2003s is the Loire ‚€“ and I
mean for red wines. Remember how often you pooh-poohed a Chinon or
Bourgeuil because they tend to be thin and acidic, proof that Cabernet
Franc is merely a blending wine that should not stand on its own? Well,
here is evidence of what this region can do when the stars align.
The Domaine de la Colline is not one of the ‚€œtop
Chinon‚€ producers, perhaps, but it has been consistent, and this
offering is extremely good for the price. It retains the austerity and
structure of Loire reds but fleshes these out with juicy cherry fruit,
spiced with the typical white pepper of Cab Franc. In other words, it
retains its terroir despite the unusual vintage. A bistro wine ‚€“ not
for the ages, but for the next few years.
Imported by Monsieur Touton Selection, New York, NY. Purchased at Schneiders of Capitol Hill, Washington DC.

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