2020 Domaine de Beausejour, Chinon
2020 Domaine de Beausejour, Chinon

2020 Domaine de Beausejour, Chinon

Loire Valley, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$30.00

2020 Domaine de Beausejour, Chinon

One of the many delights of traveling through the French countryside is discovering small, rustic bistros that offer surprisingly excellent renditions of both classic and innovative dishes. Many of them also have a basic list of wines by the glass, perhaps on a chalkboard, that list just the region or appellation and a price, and no matter what part of France you’re exploring a wine from Chinon is likely to be on that board. And though the quality of these 100% Cabernet Franc classics has improved dramatically over the past few decades, there are still a small handful of estates that overperform. A new discovery to add to that tiny list is the Domaine de Beausejour. Their pitch perfect Chinon delivers every classic note with aplomb: Silky, juicy red and black fruit, dried flowers, green peppercorns, and hints of wild herbs are all in perfect harmony. This is exactly what you want from honest, effortlessly drinkable, and sneakily complex “bistro wine.” Oh, and of course it is a tremendous value–buy it by the case!

The Domaine de Beausejour was a rustic family farm, used by many generations of the Chauveau family, until 1969 when Gerard Chauveau decided to leave his life as an architect in Paris behind and devote his full attention to managing the family property. From the outset he was convinced that grape growing and winemaking were key to the farms future, and so he set about rejuvenation and replanting vineyards, and converting unused land into additional parcels of vines. Today Gerard’s son David oversees the 25 hectare estate, and through both hard work and talent he has achieved his father’s dream of producing top notch, award winning wines in the village of Chinon. 

The ancient settlement of Chinon has a long, storied history that includes the building and rebuilding of its famous castle on the hilltop, numerous wars between the French and English crowns, Joan of Arc, and more recently recognition as a UNESCO world heritage site. It also happens to be one the best places in the world to grow Cabernet Franc. Grapes grown on the steep, limestone laden hills provide structure and elegance, while those closer to the river grow on alluvial gravel and provide freshness and minerality. The Vienne river runs below the hilltop castle and empties into the Loire a few miles downstream, and the confluence of these rivers provides a moderating effect on the climate. Summers are sunny and warm, winters are cold and wet. The vineyards of Domaine de Beausejour are spread among the steep slopes and gravelly meadows, and with an average age of over 40 years they provide pristine, perfectly balanced fruit for David Chauveau’s flagship AOC Chinon Rouge.

2020 was an exceptionally hot, dry vintage in Chinon (and the Loire generally) and yet David’s ability to select and blend fruit from different vineyards helped maintain freshness and lift. The alcohol is a very modest, and old-school, 12.5% and although the fruit has loads of juicy ripeness it never feels cloying or jammy. Like all the best bistro-style Cab Francs, this bottle is best served with a slight chill after a splash decant for 20-30 minutes. I like to serve Chinon in Burgundy bowls to accentuate the wide ranging aromatics: Bramble berry, crushed raspberry, plum skin, green and black peppercorn, dried violets, bay leaf, rosemary, lavender, and hints of damp earth surround a core of soft, chalky tannin and saline minerality. The silky texture and medium body are another reason that this is such a versatile wine at the table. Of course any classic French dish will be a perfect pairing–coq au vin, cassoulet, country paté–but today I’m feeling like a francophile twist on the burger a l’americaine would make for an epic weeknight meal. Bon appétit! 

2020 Domaine de Beausejour, Chinon

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