2015 Le Clos Guillot Chinon, Bernard Baudry

Date night with my girl this evening, and we’ve met out for drinks and dinner in Bull City. It’s a cool little French bistro, and only my second time here—and first for dinner. She looks great; freshly coiffed and even her eyes are smiling at me as I jump out of my ride to meet her.


2015 Le Clos Guillot Chinon, Bernard Baudry, Loire, France.

The ambiance? High, industrial-style ceilings where sound carries even without a big crowd. Chalkboards on the rear walls share enticing specials for guests, and my eyes are on one even while we slide up to the corner of the bar, our favorite setup so we can lean in close and enjoy each other’s company and intoxicating smells. 

I have a few more stories from the dumpster fire of the past week, a few new angles that we’ve unearthed—but this really isn’t a night to talk shop. It’s a time to relax, to enjoy foodstuffs, to enjoy each other, and to enjoy wine. We’ve selected the Le Clos Guillot Chinon from an extensive tasting list and, though it takes some time to open up, it eventually does and we run through it to good effect.

This Le Clos Guiilot Chinon is organically produced and hails from Loire. It’s a Cabernet Franc that pours ruby red in the glass, with damp, earthy notes that this reviewer can detect even among all the delicious smells of Rue Cler. There’s a bit of cherry in the tasting, and some darker fruits too that I imagine come through the Cabernet Franc grapes themselves. I’ve been very California-focused as of late and this Baudry wine is (at least for me) walking a fine line between those Napa Cabs and Petite Syrahs that I’ve been tasting from this side of the ocean. A medium finish… 

Still recovering from severe sleep deprivation, I’m not going to lay on the menu too thick this time. (I promise to make that up in new Notes entries soon enough.) Just know I’m impossibly happy to be home, and even more so to be out on the town with this special lady. Oh yeah, the wine’s been a fun experience too! A rare trip overseas for this guy but much appreciated. Hoping you do too and thanks as always for your readership and kind words. 

2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc

It’s been some time since I last had a Cabernet Franc, and it’s not a grape to which I typically gravitate when I’m out hunting for fun new wine. This is not for any special reason other that I tend to drift more frequently toward Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, and thus was a fun treat to encounter this red blend courtesy of my wife.

2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc

2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Yadkin Valley, North Carolina, USA.

Grown in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina is this 2011 Shelton Vineyards Cabernet Franc, a Bordeaux-style blended with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard has approximately 136,000 vines (spanning 145 miles) growing 10 different varieties of grapes, and they employ no-till farming techniques to help reduce erosion. That’s not to say all this green emphasis diminishes the outcome; to the contrary I thought the 2011 had muscle in all the right places.

We enjoyed this Cab Franc over several nights and with different meals that included sushi as well as ground beef. The wine dressed up our meals with its fresh, red fruity scents and little bit of pepper that is honestly quite endearing. Of the 2011 vintage, the folks at Shelton remark, “The finish on this wine has essence of woodland cedar and some smoke to complement rich grilled salmon, chicken or barbeque.” Some nice tannins deliver a lasting finish, too. In hindsight, I think this bottle received our “middle of the work week” treatment when it had all the merits for a weekend glass or two.

It’s my understanding that our local grocery store had the 2011 readily in stock and I’m interested in securing another couple of these for the fall.

2009 Four Chimneys New Earth

This Cabernet Franc didn’t age long in our possession at all–we bought this bottle just about a week ago while tasting along the western shore of Seneca Lake in central New York.  Four Chimneys, an organic winery that takes care to ensure no synthetics or pesticides are introduced to their grapes, conducts their tastings from a simple barn that overlooks this one of the Finger Lakes.

2009 Four Chimneys New Earth Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, NY, USA.

2009 Four Chimneys New Earth Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, NY, USA.

Several of their sweeter wines missed the mark for me, but the New Earth was on target and I left carrying one.  This was despite its lame label, which makes me sound like a wine snob but I was really just underwhelmed by the designer on this one (other Four Chimney wines have labels with better personality, execution, or both).  At the time I thought New Earth had an oaky, spicy finish but that was less pronounced when we uncorked here at home.  It is light, more Pinot in color than Cab, and tastes similarly–light.  Nice smell…and the winemaker says “A very fine organic vinifera – full fruit, herbs and violets, richer tannins, and integrated oak.”

As depicted here, our New Earth accompanied a pasta-chicken-feta cheese dish on the first night it was open.  You might think a white better suited; I can tell you the Earth doesn’t overpower and was fine.  I had it again last night with some tacos, and it really did well mixed with the spices.  Tonight I even had enough left for a last glass after work.

I got my fix here–a mild red, and good memories of a fun family weekend in the Finger Lakes–but I’m sated for now and ready for something else next time.