Text Size:-+

2002 Domaine Taluau-Foltzenlogel "Vieilles Vignes" Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Loire Valley, France

02_taluau.jpgI'm sure I'm going to end up on some Homeland Security watch list, or at least on the Republican National Committee blacklist for this but who cares. I'm reviewing a French wine on Independence Day. Consider it an homage to the philosophical underpinnings of our own revolution, a tip-of-the-hat to the ideological impetus behind our eventual independence.

In a further obfuscatory and untraditional manner, I've reviewing a Loire wine, but not one of the famous Sauvignon Blanc based wines of the region. Instead I'm reviewing this lovely Cabernet Franc based wine from Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, a small appellation smack-dab in the middle of the Loire Valley.

True Francophiles will show no surprise at a red wine from the Loire, knowing that in fact the valley and it's appellations have the highest diversity of vine varieties anywhere in France. The Loire grows, among other things: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Malbec, Meunier, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Additionally this region plays host to the largest number of hybrid varieties in France.

Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil is an 1800-or-so acre appellation on the north bank of the Loire, just to the west of the larger and more well known Bourgueil region. It's wines are exclusively made from the Cabernet Franc varietal and are quite unknown in the states.

Joel Taluau has had an estate in the region longer than almost any other, making him one of the forefathers of the appellation. Taluau has about 50 acres of vines in the light soil of the region, divided into recently planted young vines and a section of old vines planted in 1934. It is these older vines that are responsible for this wine. "Just like man, the vine does stupid things up to the age of 20, from 20 to 40 it gets wiser and after that it's a question of philosophy," says Taluau, who now receives help from his son-in-law Foltzenlogel in running the estate.

Despite Taluau's advancing age, things continue to be run at the winery according to his prescription of winemaking, which amazingly involves no oak. The wines are fermented in steel and bottled directly, in the case of the young vines, or after a period of resting for the old vines. No filtering is done of any kind, and fining is done only with egg whites.

One of the most astonishing things about this wine is the low alcohol level (12.5%) despite the wine having very distinct and pleasurable fruit flavors -- further proof that high alcohol levels are not required to get round fruit flavors from a red wine.

Tasting Notes:
A medium garnet in the glass this wine has the nuttiest nose I've ever perceived on a red wine, with loads of crushed almonds, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts overlaying aromas of dried cranberry and figs. In the mouth it posesses light, juicy flavors of raspberries, redcurrant, rosehips, and continues to incorporate notes of almond. The wine has a nice acidity and very light, nearly imperceptible tannins that stretch into an incredibly long finish, despite the wines lightness and relative simplicity. One of the lightest, yet most distinctive Cabernet Franc's I have ever had.

Food Pairing:
This is a delicate wine that could easily be overwhelmed with strong flavors. I'd suggest matching it with something like this gorgeous heirloom tomato tart.

Overall Score: 9

How Much?: $16

This wine is available for purchase over the Internet. Be sure you're buying the "Vieilles Vignes."

Buy My Award-Winning Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Unglamorous Work A Lesson in the Loss of Denis Malbec I'll Drink to That: Kimberly Prokoshyn of Rebelle Restaurant Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 6/19/16 Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 12, 2016 Warm Up: Richebourg I'll Drink to That: Jean-Nicolas Méo of Méo-Camuzet Vinography Images: It's Nice to be King It's Time for American Wineries to Grow Up I'll Drink to That: Joy Kull of La Villana Winery

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud