The Wine: Les Pins Cabernet Franc 2016
Red natural wine made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from 60-year-old vines grown in the Loire Valley, France. The grapes are hand harvested, after which the whole bunches are put into 50 hectoliter oak vats for traditional fermentation at low temperature, which takes about 20 days. Fermentation is started with a starter of lees from previous vintages. The bottom of the tank is lined with boxes so the grapes are not in contact with any of the juice at the bottom. The wine stays in the tank for about 4 months until it's bottled; only 15 mg per liter of sulfur is added upon bottling.
The Producer: Domaine du Mortier
Domaine du Mortier lies within the Saint Nicolas de Bourgeuil AOC, in the heart of the Loire Valley, near the towns of Angers and Tours. The estate is small with only 9 hectares of vineyards
Domaine du Mortier is run by the two brothers Fabien and Cyril Boisard, who started producing wine over ten years ago while still very young. Their passion for winemaking shows in their wines: very easy-drinking and made naturally.
The brothers, plant crops in between the vineyards to regenerate soils and foster biodiversity, in keeping with the principles of biodynamic. Domaine Mortier is Certified Organic Biodynamic (ECOCERT).
The Region: Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is a vast region located in western France. It stretches from the hills of Auvergne all the way to the Atlantic coast, cut in half by the Loire River. With over 4 million hectoliters of wine per year, the Loire Valley is one of France’s biggest and most diverse wine producing regions. The Lore Valley’s production ranges from every-day quaffable and unpretentious wine to some of the country’s finest whites and reds.
The Terroir of the Loire Valley
Upper Loire sub-region: continental climate, soils are mostly flint and limestone formations. This is the land of Sauvignon Blanc, with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé being the most famous appellations (AOC).
Touraine sub-region: continental climate, soils can be clay with flint or limestone, and chalk. Chenin Blanc is the main grape varietal for white wines, with Sauvignon Blanc coming in second. Red wines are made mostly from Cabernet Franc.
Anjou sub-region: maritime to continental climate, crumbly and soft soil formation called tuffeau. Anjou is well-known for its Chenin Blanc wines, mostly dry although there are good examples of sweet Chenin Blanc in Coteaux du Layon.
Saumur sub-region: continental to maritime climate, soils are made of tuffeau limestone in this similar to Anjou sub-region. Chenin Blanc is vinified as a sparkling wine with the champenoise method, Cabernet Franc is made into light and peppery wines.
Pays Nantais sub-region: maritime climate, the region stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Soils are rocky with granite formations. Muscadet is the main grape varietal of this area, known for wines that are mineral, crisp, and refreshing.
The White Wines of Loire Valley
White wines represent the biggest share with about 65% of the total production. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne, and Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne are the most popular grape varietals in the region.
The Red Wines of Loire Valley
Loire Valley reds are very distinct in terms of their style. Light and lean, lively and fruity, easy-drinking and food-friendly, they are some of the best everyday wines on the market. Some of the best examples of this style are made from Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.