Wine tasting my way through a Wines 101 Bucket List has become an exercise in logistics, decision making, communication and relationship building! I naively thought that the reclusive nature of old world winemakers in France had disappeared, but it hasn’t, far from it as I discovered in Chablis, Sancerre, and now in Chinon. I have no intention of naming names because I totally respect a winemaker who just wants to care for his vines, make his wine, then sell it to his preferred clients. No visits, no tastings, no purchases, no phone, no website. But in such cases how do they EVER get into a book that recommends the 101 wines you should try before you die? In some cases so far, I’d die before they answered their bloody phones or sold me a bottle!
My solution? Buy another book, 1001 Wines to Buy Before You Die! No, I am not chasing 1001 wines, I am seeking recommended substitutes if a wine from Wines 101 isn’t available to me, and this was the case in Chinon, a town and area we love in France and have visited many times over the past 35 years.
Clos de L’Echo is a vineyard owned by Domaine Couly-Dutheil within sight of Chateau Chinon. It was once owned by the family of Rabelais, the French renaissance writer, monk, and humanist, whose name gave rise to the expression Rabelaisian meaning “earthy humour, bawdy”! In my opinion, the Cabernet Franc wines of this area are certainly earthy.
The tasting room is a small building amongst the L’Echo vines which is as authentic an environment as it gets. A welcoming cool environment inside with the temperature already approaching 30 degrees by mid day, as we were met by Myriam who would host our tasting.
I only tasted two vintages of the Clos de L’Echo, 2015 & 2014. The earlier vintage had the classic Cabernet Franc aromas and taste, typical earthy tones and moderate to high tannins. Discussing with Myriam we thought that this great wine would age for some 10-15 years. The 2015 was quite different, moderate tannins, but much lighter in intensity and length of finish making it easy drinking now. I bought a case of the latter as I though that the former might outlast me at my age! Anyway, that’s another Wines 101 in the cellar!
Meanwhile Dr C started to pursue her own new hobby, photographing anything that wasn’t a bottle of wine or that involved me drinking wine! So, as I’m engaged in “fascinating conversations” about minerality and apogee, she wanders off snapping vines, leaves, grapes, barrels, tanks, wall art ….. Here’s a few snaps, please encourage her: