Our Wine Editor Absolutely Loves This Cabernet Franc

MARY DOWEY selects a Loire red bursting with SUMMER FRESHNESS as her bottle of the week …


Langlois-Château Saumur-Champigny 2015

Are you a fan of Cabernet Franc? I hope so – but if not here comes an opportunity to try it. This red grape plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Bordeaux but deserves much louder applause for starring in its own right in the Loire. I may as well admit that I absolutely love it.

In appellations like Saumur-Champigny, Chinon and Bourgueil it shows off its seductive side in tangy wines that evoke freshly picked raspberries and crushed blackcurrant leaves. While some of the most serious can age into savoury grandeur, most (including this one) are designed to be enjoyed while young and fruity, making them terrific reds for summer.

It is made by Langlois-Château, an old family company whose name is worth remembering because posh Champagne Bollinger is its majority shareholder. Quality-driven in everything it does, Bollinger has encouraged the Langlois team to produce increasingly polished, likeable wines. This Saumur-Champigny is silky, juicy and moreish, with a gentle squeeze of tannin in the tail to keep it palate-cleansing and food-friendly.

Pop it in the fridge for half an hour before serving it with just about any summer food that calls for a red wine. Grilled tuna, chicken, pork, veal, beef carpaccio, chargrilled aubergines… It’ll do them all proud. In fact, the most delicious partner I’ve discovered for it so far is a duck breast and fig salad.

But this is also one of those relatively rare reds with tannins soft enough to make it enjoyable without food – which means that it’s a great choice for a summer party. We chose it for a family christening recently and heaps of glasses were emptied, I noticed, before their owners had even reached the buffet table.

Alcohol: 12%

From O’Briens outlets nationwide, €16.45.


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