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Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissée 2010

After spending a week seeing the Loire 2013 harvest in action, it might be more appropriate for me to describe some of the Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris (yes - Pinot Gris - in the Loire!), Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir juice I have tasted recently, rather than my weekend wine. Juice tasting is hardly an experience in which we can all share though (as far as I am aware, no domaines plan to release unfermented juice, even if some of it tastes quite delicious) and so I should perhaps stick to wine. With that in mind I'm returning to a theme I established earlier this year, when over several weeks I looked at a number of wines from Chinon, mostly from the limestone côtes that run parallel to the Vienne, to the east of the town of Chinon itself. If I have the timeline correct, it was with the 2009 Philippe Alliet Chinon Coteau de Noiré that I began, back in April.

It was only three days ago that I passed Domaine Bernard Baudry on the D21, en route from Domaine Baudry-Dutour near Panzoult, east of Chinon, down to Bourgueil and St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, where Jim Budd and I called in on Frédéric Mabileau, Sébastien David, Domaine de la Butte and Domaine de la Cotelleraie. Even though it is very early days at present, and I have always been one to avoid extrapolating from harvest reports to the quality of the final wine, conditions in the Loire are such that it seems safe to say that 2013 will not be a great region for the major red wine appellations of the Loire Valley (and perhaps not the white appellations either).

Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boissée 2010

Ripeness in the Cabernet Francs of Bourgueil, St-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil and Chinon is borderline and plain green in some vineyards, with reported alcoholic potentials during the last few days often in the order of 11% to 11.5%, indicating much of the fruit has neither technical nor phenolic maturity. Meanwhile rain brings the threat of rot (already well established on much Sauvignon Blanc at the time of harvest, although it didn't seem to have had any impact on the flavours) and vignerons are being forced to pick regardless of the maturity of the grapes. As neither 2012 nor 2011 were stunning red wine vintages either, this all means that 2010 is perhaps the most recent really favourable vintage for these appellations. Happily for me, I've recently welcomed a couple of batches from this vintage into my cellar, of which the wine featured here is one.

The 2010 La Croix Boissée from Bernard Baudry has a vibrant, youthful, crimson-tinged hue in the glass, in keeping with the wine's age. There are some beautiful aromatics here, all very tense and indicative of the cooler climate, with notes of cherry stone, plum skin, all crunchy and dark, with nuances of charcoal coming in behind. It is clearly still very primary, as we would expect from La Croix Boissée at this stage, but is delightful, fun and full of promise. In keeping with the aromatic style the palate has all the cool tension I would expect, with sour and biting fruit skins and fruit stones in the middle, supported by some dry grip, all fine and ripe. It has concentration and length, and is perhaps more classic in style than the 2009 for that. All in all though, this is a wine of excellent potential, with a long and bright future ahead of it. 17.5/20 (14/10/13)

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