Legrand 2019 Saumur Champigny "Les Lizieres", Loire Valley
“Oh, I love Cabernet Franc!”
Now, I have witnessed a lot of changes in my nearly 28 years here at The Wine Country, but seeing enthusiasm, hearing praise, and watching Cabernet Franc fly off the shelves has to be one of those ones that I would have never thought I’d see. Especially the more earthy, greener flavored ones from France’s Loire Valley, and yet here I am again, sitting in front of my laptop writing a Wine of the Month feature on Loire Valley Cabernet Franc.
Gawd, I love our eager wine nerds!
We had been going back and forth over a couple of fun red wines for April, and as always, I walked over the Loire Valley section to see what we might be able to get enough off to feature for our Wine of the Month program, and it wasn’t long before I was pulling the cork on a new vintage of an old favorite from Saumur Champigny, the 2019 Clotide Legrand Les Lizieres. The Legrand family can trace their grape growing roots back the mid-17th century, and it is now Clotilde who is running things, the first female winemaker for her family’s estate who from her father in 2014. Clotide grows a tiny amount of Chenin Blanc, but it is her deft hand with her plots of Cabernet Franc that bring us back vintage after vintage.
Cooler summers, and gentle winters provide an incredible microclimate for her older vines, which are an average age of 45 years, but she has holdings that were planted back in 1927. Clean farming, clay-rich soils, hand harvesting and Clotide’s astounding winemaking talent all come together in this super fresh, tank-aged and vibrant red wine that we cannot keep our freaking hands off of. Red fruited, with hints of blooming flowers and a swatch of earthiness that gives the wine added complexity and layers. Medium weight and wicked lively in the glass, it seems to bounce from side to side and back again. Playful, agreeable, looking for a bit of savory to settle into.
We always love this wine, but the 2019 is showing its more natural character along with the added plushiness from a warmer and juicier vintage, so we had to give the wine the spotlight it needed. A quick text message to our sales rep and he was able to save us a couple bucks a bottle on top of securing us a solid chunk of what is sure to be another huge hit
And a wine our savvy Cabernet Franc lovers will be coming back for, as long as we have it!--Samantha Dugan