I think that each wine lover is able to recognize the Cabernet Sauvignon in the glass, as it is one of the most popular grapes varieties in the world. Its close relative, Cabernet Cranc, is mainly associated with the Right Bank of Bordeaux where it is blended with Merlot. As a single varietal wine Cabernet Franc has not gained such great fame as Cabernet Sauvignon and pure Cabernet Franc is difficult to recognize even for those who are familiar with the wine. What a pity! Because Cabernet Franc gives really nice single varietal wines as those made in Château de Minière.
Recently I have tasted 14 wines from this producer. Unfortunately I could not participate in the meeting with the owners but I hope that soon I will have the opportunity to visit the château and find out more about the history of the family and the estate.
Château de Minière is located in the Touraine, Loire Valley. Wines which are made from 100% Cabernet Franc are classified as AOP Bourgueil. The château is run by a Belgian couple- Kathleen Van den Berghe and Sigurd Mareels. It is the only ‘château’ in the appellation of Bourgueil, others are named ‘domaines’. What’s interesting for me is that they cultivate a tradition begun in the eighteenth century which puts women on a podium and the whole estate is managed by a woman. At first glance it doesn’t look that interesting but if you look closely at the role of women and their presence in the wine world you definitely will understand why it is unique for me.
In 2013 Château de Minière was awarded with the certification for their organic farming and vinification. All the wines that are in the portfolio of the château are produced as single variety wines made from pure Cabernet Franc. Apart from producing wine Château de Minière offers a huge range of wine related activities and wine tourism for wine lovers, which is expressed in their motto “a complete wine experience”. More about the château and their oenotourism offer you will find here- www.chateaudeminiere.fr
There were 14 wines to taste so I conducted them in a few stages. Firstly – roses and sparkling (pétillant naturel) of which you will read below in this article. Secondly there were entry level reds, then the château-labelled wines and lastly wines that were made from more than a hundred years old vines. I will write about these in the next article. All the wines of Château de Minière are an example of classic Cabernet Franc single varietal wines.
Rosé de Minière 2012 is a pale salmon coloured wine. The aroma is moderately intense with notes of red fruit, a hint of yeast and bread which makes it interesting to try but not necessarily to drink –I think the wine’s most glorious time has already passed. On the palate the wine is very acidic, a little watery and with perceptible alcohol.
— Producer: Château de Minière / Vintage: 2012 / Type and style: still; dry rose / Country: France / Region: Loire Valley, Touraine / Appellation: AOC Bourgueil / Alcohol: 12% vol. / Grape varieties: 100% Cabernet Franc / Serving Temperature: chilled, 6-8 ° C / Goes well with: green salad with goat cheese / Cellaring: no / Tasting date: 20140717 / Price: about £ 7 / Other: hand harvesting, organic farming —
Rosé de Minière 2013 is fuller and has more fruit than the one from 2012 vintage. The pale pink colour indicates the wine is younger. It smells of red fruits, especially strawberry. In the mouth the wine is balanced and fruity. High acidity is hidden under a bit of residual sugar. I think that this wine is more interesting than the first one because it is younger and gives a much nicer taste sensation.
— Producer: Château de Minière / Vintage: 2013 / Type and style: still; dry rose / Country: France / Region: Loire Valley, Touraine / Appellation: AOC Bourgueil / Alcohol: 12% vol. / Grape varieties: 100% Cabernet Franc / Serving Temperature: chilled, 6-8 ° C / Goes well with: green salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese and pine nuts; also very chilled as an aperitif / Cellar: drink now / Tasting date: 20140717 / Price: about £ 7 / Other: hand harvesting, organic farming —
Bulles de Minière Rosé – is a rosé wine produced as a ‘pétillant naturel’ – which means that the wine was bottled with natural CO2 gas that gives bubbles on the palate while tasting. The aroma is a pleasant strawberry fruit with a hint of yeast and slightly noticeable alcohol. In the mouth the wine is fresh with high acidity, hint of strawberry and quite a short finish. The wine is simple and easy to drink, a perfect solution for a hot summer’s day.
— Producer: Château de Minière / Vintage: 2012 / Type and style: sparkling- pétillant naturel; rose, brut / Country: France/ Region: Loire Valley, Touraine / Appellation: Vin de France / Alcohol: 12% vol. / Grape Varieties: 100% cabernet franc / Serving Temperature: very chilled, 8°C / Goes well with: very chilled as an aperitif; with fruit desserts (especially with pineapple, kiwi, orange) / Cellaring: drink now / Tasting date: 20140717 / Price: about 12£ / Other: hand harvesting, organic farming, contact with lees (‘sur lattes’) for 12 months —
Bulles de Minière Rouge – this is a red wine also produced as ‘pétillant naturel’. It has a deep red colour, bubbles are pleasant but do not last long. The aroma is very interesting – a combination of flowers, fruits and bon bon candies. On the palate the wine gives a slightly sweetish taste with fine tannins and high acidity balanced with a hint of residual sugar. The taste reminded me of cherries mixed with mirabelles and smelled like the freesia flowers. I think it is a very interesting wine, definitely worth trying.
— Producer: Château de Minière / Vintage: 2012 / Type and style: sparkling- pétillant naturel; red, brut / Country: France/ Region: Loire Valley, Touraine / Appellation: Vin de France / Alcohol: 12% vol. / Grape Varieties:100% cabernet franc / Serving Temperature: chilled, 8°C / Goes well with: chocolate, ice sorbet with black cherry or red currant / Cellaring: drink now / Tasting date: 20140717 / Price: about 11£ / Other: hand harvesting, organic farming; contact with lees (‘sur lattes’) for 12 months —