The 2006 Chinon Vieilles Vignes from Phillipe Alliet may start out as a typical 100% Cabernet Franc from Chinon: pale ruby, fresh and light dominated by raspberry characters, but this Cabernet Franc can not be simply described as Cabernet Sauvignon without the heavy cape.
The lightness soon drops an octave lower into darker territory; perfumes of black fruits, aniseed and game. The tannins have a firm grip on the fruit as if being stopped by a request for a password (TENREBAC) before being allowed to move on to the next taste; in effect, slowing down the slideshow of Cabernet Franc perfume on an almost blank fruit palate that is taut, clear and mineral. There is nothing green and dry about it, the fruit and tannins are skillfully integrated with jewel-thief precision.
Phillipe Alliet has created the ultimate stealth wine moving through the night with extreme care and quietness. Working with at least 50-year-old vines, this serious Chinon from one of the greats in the Loire is unique, and resists category across all the Cabernet family, whether Sauvignon or Franc. It’s my choice for Cabernet Day (2nd September, 2010) from one of the great winemakers working with Cabernet Franc in Chinon, Loire.
Image: Musidor, by Rene Gruau
19/05/2015 Update – this post is still valid regarding the wines of Phillipe Alliet – for more about the latest 2014 vintage in the Loire, see the post: What’s not to like about the 2014 Loire vintage.