Featured in this issue

You Say Bourgueil and I Say Hello

Of course, saying “Bourgueil” may be a bit tricky for the non-French speakers out there. Sounds a bit like “Poor Guy,” but there’s nothing to feel sorry about in this ancient region of France’s Loire Valley. Situated in the western part of Touraine (the “garden of France”), which is itself situated in the eastern part of the central Loire, Bourgueil (along with its sister appellation Chinon) produces the finest red wines in the Loire Valley. Often compared to the wines of Médoc, albeit in a way that is occasionally and unfairly somewhat belittling, these Cabernet Franc (known locally as “Breton”) based wines are known for their expressive aromas of raspberries and pencil lead, which can be especially beguiling (bourguiling?) in ripe vintages. While Cabernet Sauvignon is allowed in the blend up to 25%, the best are purely Cabernet Franc.

The red wines of Bourgueil, and they are mostly all red, with a little rosé thrown in, are food friendly and can have wonderful structure, while the weight of the wine is usually light to medium bodied. A fine Bourgueil can age effortlessly for ten years. Generally, the wines with the most structure and aging potential come from vineyards planted on clay over tuffeau, the Loire’s famous limestone from which all those fairytale castles are constructed. We found that a recently enjoyed bottle of Dom. de La Chevalerie, Cuvee des Galichets from the ripe 1996 vintage was complex, fruity and intense.

While production is somewhere in the neighborhood of nine million bottles per annum, Bourgueil (and the other reds of Touraine) is not widely exported and is commonly drunk in the bistros of Paris, usually with a little chill on it -- not unlike the Parisians who relish its fragrant appeal.

The Blend’s Monthly Featured Producer: Catherine & Pierre Breton

As noted above, in Touraine, the local name for Cabernet Franc is “Breton.” Named not for the people of Brittany, but rather for an abbot who supposedly was responsible for importing the vine to the Loire Valley in the 17th century. It is therefore delightfully fitting that the Bretons are producers of Cabernet Franc.

Situated near the town of Restigné, next to Bourgueil on the north bank of the Loire (between Tours and Saumur), the Bretons make many different bottlings from their 26 acres/10.5 ha of vineyards, including wines from the Chinon appellation. Their home is in an old farmhouse surrounded by vines in Les Galichets vineyard. Catherine and Pierre work hard to cultivate their vines organically, with a philosophy of, if not strict adherence to biodynamics as well. The grapes are fermented according to terroir, with those from the gravel soil vineyards going into stainless steel vats and those from clay-limestone plots going into old wooden ones.

Their wines, which include the cuvees Nuits d'Ivresse and trinch!, as well as the old vine, single vineyard Les Galichets, Clos Sénéchal, and Les Perrières, are bottled with little to no sulphur addition and are all unfiltered. Pierre is so dedicated to his namesake grape variety, he even cultivates some ungrafted vines, à la pre-phylloxera, at no small risk. The old abbot would be proud.

Recommended Wine:

wine label The name “trinch!” is a French onomatopoeia referring to the “clink” that wine glasses make when toasting. And there is much to toast here. This Cabernet Franc is hand harvested from vines that grow on both gravel and clay-limestone soils, representing the cross section that Bourgueil has to offer. Sulphur treatment is minimal, so there’s a real vibrancy on the first pour, which smooths out in the glass. Fruity and fresh, with tell-tale aromas of pencil shavings and cigar box along with cherry, cola, baking spices and caramel notes, “trinch!” is a light to medium bodied red that is fragrant, soft, bright and pleasingly tart. It may even remind you, unabashedly and unashamedly, of a Médoc.
Try it slightly chilled. Pairs well with Port Salut, Valencay, or Gouda, grilled vegetables, coleslaw, turkey with cranberry sauce, charcuterie, or pear soaked in (what else?) Bourgueil. About $17 USD.

Catalog this wine in The Personal Wine Curator cellar software like this:

  • Producer: Breton
  • Wine Name/Appellation: trinch!
  • Vintage: 2007
  • Varietal: Cabernet Franc
  • Type: Red
  • Vineyard/Sub-sub:
  • Sub-region: Bourgueil
  • Region: Loire Valley
  • Country: France
  • Body: Medium
  • Distinction: Loire Valley, Red
  • Drink after: 2008
  • Drink by: 2013

Casein Point: Did You Know Some Wines Are Processed Using Milk By-Products?

In winemaking, various fining agents (both inorganic and organic), including bentonite and several proteins are used to improve the clarity, color, flavor and overall stability of a wine. One such agent is casein, the predominant protein in milk. Casein is a positively charged protein that when added to wine, forms a curd, adhering to and removing suspended material as it settles. Casein is generally used to remove undesirable odors, for removing brown colors from white wine, and to clarify cloudy wines. Fining agents precipitate out of the wine along with the elements they are employed to remove, so no, you won’t be able to use wine as a source for your daily requirement of protein.

PWC Tips and Tricks

Take advantage of the custom header option when you print custom cellar lists… CLICK HERE

Plus, we've got lots of video tutorials to help you make the most of PWC. We think you'll find plenty of things here you didn't know about ... CLICK HERE.

Are You Taking Advantage of the PWC Community Forum?

Communicate with other users of The Personal Wine Curator on our recently set up Community Forum! With our online forum you can communicate with other people who use The Personal Wine Curator and let them know all the ways in which you use the many features of PWC, as well as get answers to questions you may have about various functions of the software. This new discussion site is also a great place to share your thoughts on all things wine. Build bonds with your fellow cork dorks and share your enthusiasm for PWC. View the forum and set up a free membership to post your own threads: http://www.websitetoolbox.com/mb/winecurators

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PWC Mobile: It’s Not Just for Mobile Devices!

You don’t have to own a Treo, iPhone or Blackberry to take advantage of some very useful features of PWC Mobile. With The Personal Wine Curator version 3.0, you can subscribe to PWC Mobile to backup your valuable wine data on our online server and retrieve it anytime you want with the click of a button. Learn more and subscribe: http://thewinecurators.com/mobileinfo.shtml

Accessories to the Wine (Software)

We’ve just added PWC compatible labels to our online store , which continues to offer Dymo LabelWriter printers and Metrologic Barcode Readers for use with The Personal Wine Curator v3.0. Dymo has been our recommended single feed label printer since we first developed PWC. In fact, we test every label printing function in PWC on Dymo label printers as well as use them for our own wine cellar inventory work.

Additionally, we find that the Metrologic Voyager Barcode Reader works great with the new barcode features of PWC v3.0 and has a high quality-to-price ratio. The Metrologic Voyager is a laser scanner, and consequently reads barcodes quite easily on curved surfaces, such as on wine bottles. Most inexpensive barcode scanners are CCD scanners, which can be unreliable for detecting barcodes on anything other than a clean flat label. Not so with laser scanners. And luckily, this one won’t put a big dent in your wine budget either!

PLUS: Cool corkscrews and wine savers by Pulltex. Check ‘em out: http://www.thewinecurators.com/products_accessories.shtml

PWC Gift Certificates

The Personal Wine Curator can be purchased as a gift certificate and printed immediately right from your computer. And giving the wine lover in your life the software as a gift couldn’t be easier. It’s just the thing for last minute ideas, too. Once the recipient gets the certificate, all he has to do is go to our website, type in the certificate number and download the software! It’s that simple. No shipping costs or time constraints. Buy gift certificates HERE.

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The Personal Wine Curator Wine Cellar Software