A great Loire Valley red wine

Give the Gift of Loire Valley Red Wine: Holiday Flight of Fancy, Part 4  

2016 Yves Guégniard Domaine de la Bergerie “La Cerisaie”, Cabernet Franc, Anjou, France

Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei

A great, yet affordable, bottle of wine is a staple to have on hand in this season of gathering and last minute gift giving. If you’re concerned about making a good impression, or just showing a little imagination in your selection, I recommend you give the gift of Loire Valley red wine. And, I happen to have a delicious suggestion for you to consider.

You may be more familiar with white wines from the Loire Valley – Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Vouvray. You might even be familiar with Chinon, the most popular red wine from the Loire Valley. But, popularity often comes with a higher price point. Fortunately, the Loire Valley is a sizeable region and there are many lesser-known options that are well worth exploring. For example, consider the district of Anjou.

Anjou is located in the western Loire Valley near the city of Angers. The district is bisected by the Loire River and contains a number of microclimates, producing a variety of wine styles – dry to sticky sweet; still and sparkling; red, white, and rosé. The most common grapes in the region are Chenin Blanc for whites, Cabernet Franc and Gamay for reds and rosé.

Domaine de la Bergerie is a family estate that was founded in 1964 by Marie-Scholastique Horeau, grandmother of the current proprietor Yves Guégniard. As the fourth generation of the family steps into leading roles, the estate is moving toward organic practices. And it is their “La Cerisaie” that I’m recommending as my pick for a Loire Valley red wine.

2016 Yves Guégniard Domaine de la Bergerie “La Cerisaie”--a great Loire Valley red wineAbout this wine

Deep garnet in color, this wine has classic Cabernet Franc aromas of rich earth, black fruit, and deep savory notes (think roasted red pepper, fruity black olives, and cassis). The complexity of the aromas develops as the wine opens in the glass. On the palate, medium-plus tannins give structure, complemented by juicy acidity. Flavors are mostly savory and earthy – Old World style wine lovers will be thrilled.

This Loire Valley red wine is a “food wine”… one that will show best at the dinner table (not at the bar). I poured this wine with creamy polenta topped with sautéed wild mushrooms, braised greens, and oven-dried tomatoes and found one of my favorite combinations of the year. The combination of earthy, bitter, and savory fruitiness was complemented by similar components in the wine.

The verdict

At under $20/bottle, this Loire Valley red wine is a perfect wine to keep a stash of for your own enjoyment, as well as to bring along to your next gathering as a host-gift, last-minute gift exchange, or impromptu pizza and movie night.

Want to buy the wine? Search where it’s available near you.

Intersted in trying more Loire reds? Here’s another recommendation.

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