Saturday, October 10, 2009

TN: Charles Joguet 2006 Les Varennes du Grand Clos

We tasted the Charles Joguet 2006 Les Varennes du Grand Clos at the weekly event at a local wine shop, and the first thing my girlfriend wrote down in our notes was, "what wine should taste like." It couldn't have been said any better. This is a Chinon that captures the Cabernet Franc varietal in its essence, managing to both be elegant and rustic simultaneously, beautiful yet masculine.

The bouquet, yes, it's all there. Ripe red and black berries, but not jam are evident. At 13.5% ABV this is a very ripe wine by Chinon standards, yet right in that sweet spot judged against the rest of the world. Everything else is in its place: tobacco, rose petals, animale funk, black pepper and just a hint of bell pepper. Textbook. The medium bodied wine delivers a seamless palate with ideal acidity so it's fresh but not overly tart. The finish is pleasing, lingering, though the tannins are still quite gripping at this point. At this point it's no crime to drink this wine, but it should improve as the tannins integrate.

Les Varennes du Grand Clos is the 3rd cuvée in the Joguet stable, ranking behind the Clos du Chene Vert and Clos de la Dioterie. The domain suggests this cuvée is ready at 3-4 years of age and can last up to a decade. Having tasted this same wine 7 months ago, I'm inclined to trust those suggestions as it was more tightly wound previously. Coincidentally, Jim's Loire recently posted a nice article illustrating sorting work being done this year at Domaine Joguet.

Pros: Complex, Classic Varietal Expression, Perfectly Ripe, Medium Body, Balanced, Funk & Green Accents
Cons: Tannins Still Integrating
Decant: Yes, shop owner said he opened bottle 2+ hours in advance of tasting
Price: $30-$40
QPR: Fair/Good depending on price (out of Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good or Excellent with Fair denoting expectations were met for the price point)


elliotw said...

For a great sub-$20 Chinon, try the Coulaine Bonnaventure cuvee, if you haven't already. '05 and '06 are both lovely.

CabFrancoPhile said...

I'll take a shot on most any sub-$20 Chinon. But we get mostly Kermit Lynch imports on the West Coast. I don't believe this producer is in his portfolio. Is this cuvee really as structured and age-worthy as the upper-level Joguets? Or is it more along the lines of a Mabileau Rouilleres or Noblaie Chiens-Chiens?

elliotw said...

Definitely a wine built for medium-term rather than long-term aging. But definitely a step up from Noblaie or the Mabileau (if that's the entry-level cuvee--can't remember the name of it).

CabFrancoPhile said...

Thanks, I'll make a mental note of this producer. One to buy & try if I see it. Even with Kermit Lynch doing the heavy lifting, I suspect the East still gets a broader variety of imports. California wine industry chauvinism limits the breadth of choices at times.

elliotw said...

Finding Loire wines (esp reds) is a hassle on the east coast too. You have be willing to pay shipping. I just ordered a couple bottles of Clos Rougeard...from a store in California.