Domaine Fabrice Gasnier
What is really fun about searching for possible new suppliers are the delightful surprises along the way. I love Cabernet Franc and the the central Loire can produce great examples of the varietal but I do find myself having to identify and visit a lot of wineries to find wines that are interesting. Unfortunately, a lot of wines from the same region all taste about the same with nothing to really distinguish them or I find producers that seem to be locked in to a particular "style" but often without really even recognizing if their wines are actually enjoyable to drink.
And so, in the Chinon appellation in the central Loire, I found the very expressive and nuanced wines of Fabrice Gasnier. What can also be funny about various regions is that producers there seem to feel that their wines have to taste like the reputation for wines in their region. Chinon Cab Francs do have a reputation for tannins and I've definitely tasted a lot of mouth puckering examples of that. The Gasnier wines all had the common characteristic of being very drinkable and enjoyable, however, and made in ways where the tannins were perfectly balanced with the fruit and not the most dominant characteristic.
Aside from the Domaine's insight into making very enjoyable and drinkable wines, everything else that I found is essentially state of the art. It starts with organically-certified Biodynamic farming (certified by Demeter) and then continues into the spotless state of the art cellar. Every wine that I tasted had a very strong core of high quality and expressive fruit and then an exquisite freshness as well. In addition to the two Cab Francs that I have initially selected, the Domaine also produces a small amount of "Chinon Blanc" (Chenin Blanc) and I selected a delightful example of that as well.
The vineyards are also in a prime location with south facing slopes on the north side of the Vienne about seven miles east of Chinon. There are varying soil types across their parcels and which include granitic gravel, sand, clay, and limestone. According to the characteristics of each parcel, viticulture is tailored for the best results in terms of possible cover crops, the cultivation of beneficial insects, and the applications of their own Domaine produced natural fertilizers. Such attention to detail is then definitely expressed in their delightful wines!
One of the Domaine's very furry vineyards with their beneficial cover crops
State of the art and custom fabricated temperature controlled concrete fermentation tanks in what is also a pristine cellar
Careful aging for perfect maturation
Further into their extensive cellar
Chinon Blanc "Le Clos de la Cure" 2022 (Chenin Blanc) (BIO, NF)
This is 100% Chenin Blanc and aromas include honeysuckle, jasmine, narcissus, citrus blossoms, white flowers, kiwi, and ripe pear. Flavors include honeydew melon, green apple, pear, and white grapefruit, there is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a refreshing medium to full finish.
Food pairings would include sole, crab, shrimp, halibut, sea bass, clams, calamari, seafood pasta and salads, paella, veal and pork cutlets, pork tenderloin, chicken, coq au vin, creamy noodles or chicken dishes, Asian seafood, chicken, noodles, and vegetable dishes, creamy yellow curries, Asian appetizers and vegetable salads, Mexican chicken and seafood dishes, enchiladas, tacos, green salads, and mild, medium, and creamy cheeses.
Chinon Rouge "Les Graves" 2020 (Cabernet Franc) (BIO, NF)
Aromas include dark plums, dark cocoa, dark chocolate, and hints of dark berries such as blackberries, boysenberries, and blueberries. Flavors include dark cherries, dark plums, nectarines, and hints of dark chocolate. There is an elegant medium body, perfect balance and acidity, and a long and lingering memorable finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, beef stew, veal stew, roast and grilled veal, lamb chops, roast pork and pork shoulder, grilled chicken, coq au vin, cassoulet, grilled shrimp, clams, mussels, seafood pasta, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, lamb curries, Mexican beef and pork dishes, chocolate desserts, and medium, rich, and creamy cheeses.
Chinon Rouge "Vieilles Vignes" 2020 (Cabernet Franc) (BIO, NF)
Aromas include dark plums, blackberries, and boysenberries. Flavors include dark plums, dark cherries, blackberries, and hints of blueberries and pomegranate. There is an elegant medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a rich full finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Roast Beef, short ribs, beef stew, veal chops and roast veal, lamb chops, roast pork, pork shoulder, wild boar, grilled chicken, duck, duck confit, cassoulet, salmon, shrimp, tuna, clams, mussels, Asian beef and pork dishes, Indian Tandoori dishes, Mexican beef and pork dishes, charcuterie, and rich and creamy cheeses.
"La Cravantine" Sparkling Rose Brut 2020 (BIO, NF)
This is a sparkling rosé made from 100% Cabernet Franc. Aromas include strawberries, raspberries, pears, red plums, and kiwi. Flavors include strawberries, raspberries, pink grapefruit, watermelon, red plums, and nectarines. There is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and lush, rich, and long minerally finish.
Food pairings would include crab, shrimp, calamari, paella, veal, pork, chicken, coq au vin, cassoulet, duck confit, grilled sausages, Asian beef and pork dishes, Indian lamb curries, Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, beef tomales and enchiladas, tacos, tapas, and medium cheeses.