Discover the three best areas for Cabernet Franc based Loire Valley wines. Although this region is mostly known for their whites, here you will also find some of the best Cabernet Franc wines in the world.
Three area in the Loire stand out for this red. All three are in the 'middle Loire' and just to the southwest of the city of Tours.
Let's start with the most popular and widely distributed of the three: Chinon. This small area sits on both sides of the Vienne River.
Red Chinon wines are mostly made up of this red. However, producers can add up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend here.
Loire Valley wines from Chinon have a dark cherry to purple color. Many are medium bodied and are easy to drink at a young age. You will also taste more fruit in these than the typical French red wine.
A few of the more expensive Loire Valley wines from here are fuller bodied. You should age these higher priced ones for at least 5 to 10 years for the best results.
Another one of the three best areas is the small area of Bourgueil. This region is just to the north of the Chinon region.
The Loire Valley wines from Bourgueil are medium bodied with red fruity flavors. Most are ready to drink at a young age. Many are smooth and easy to pair with meals such as chicken, turkey or fish.
Most of these are also 100% Cabernet Franc -- although producers here can add up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon too. These are a little harder to find than a bottle of Chinon, but worth a taste if you can track one down.
The final region is the Saumur. It is to the south of the Loire River. It is also further east than the other two regions mentioned above.
The Loire Valley wines from Saumur are different than the other two regions mentioned here. Most are fuller bodied with more Cabernet Sauvignon blended in. In addition to red fruits, you will also find hints of flowers such as irises and violets. You should age them around 2 to 5 years for the best results.
Some of the best from here have the additional name 'Champigny' attached to their label. This distinguishes them as slighter higher quality than those with just the Saumur designation. These will also be a little more expensive and take a little longer to age (5 to 20 years).
There are a few places online that sell all of these reds. Many good ones are available for $10 to $20. You can also find a little higher quality in the $20 to $50 range. Find Loire Valley wines online.
These are sometimes a little harder to find at wine stores. The best way to find one is to bring this list along with you, so you know what to look for on the labels. None of them will say 'Loire Valley', but instead say the name of the smaller region that is mentioned above.
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