Baudry-Dutour 2020 Chinon "Le Pin", Loire Valley
Chinon, the historic Loire Valley wine region located 176 miles southwest of Paris, is the birthplace of Rabelais, and his classic books were full of stories where the local wine featured prominently in the tales of partying in the early 1500s.
When describing Chinon’s earthy, minerally, dark wines made exclusively of Cabernet Franc, we let our customers know they are not the round confections of New World versions. No, they are leaner and sometimes hard to get to know at first. But the sooner you sip a glass between bites of grilled steak, the sooner you realize the true meaning of the term “food wine.” That is where wine gets better—not worse—with what you eat. And the wines of Chinon and its mirror appellation Bourgueil perform this as well as any growing region in France
Although some Chinons can age well, the Le Pin Chinon from Beaudry-Dutour is not a cellaring wine. This wine is made for joyful imbibing, like you might imagine Rabelais was doing at his wild picnics in the early 16th century. Not that drinking this happy introduction to Chinon will cause orgies, but one bottle may not be enough when you’re sharing it with people you like, and we all know that the real fun begins after the second bottle has emptied. Perhaps the stainless-steel vinification is the reason this modestly priced Chinon is so bright in the glass and so easy on the pocketbook. Good for you and good for me.
While the Baudry family has been cultivating grapes since the 1300s, the Baudry-Dutour estate dates only from 2003, as a partnership between Christophe Baudry (whose uncle is Chinon legend Bernard Baudry) and enologist and master viticulturist Jean Martin Dutour. Dutour oversees all the estate’s organic vineyards and winemaking, using indigenous yeasts, and never fines of filters the estate’s wines. The charming Le Pin shows off the talents of these artisans with an aroma of pure dark fruit followed by a blackberry flavor that is so easy-going, it practically swallows itself.
One of the great guys in the wine business, Gregory Condes, imports this wine, and if you love drinking it as much as I do, you’ll want to share it with all your friends and neighbors. Show them how unpretentious, enjoyable and transformative French wine can be.--Randy Kemner