Frederic Mabileau Les Rouilleres St. Nicholas de Bourgeuil 2005 Tasting Notes
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Frederic Mabileau Les Rouillčres St. Nicholas de Bourgeuil 2005 Tasting Notes

Cabernet Franc does yeoman work as a blending variety, but if winemaker Frederic Mabileau has any say in the matter, it will play the starring role more often on the international stage. The St. Nicholas de Bourgeuil appellation in the Loire's Touraine allows up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, but this 100% Cabernet Franc (called Breton in this region) doesn't need the help. In non-financial terms, the best way to classify this wine is to say it has a complex nose but becomes soft and delightfully drinkable once in the mouth. Financially, since the wine is $16, I can only refer you to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson's remark in their World Atlas of Wine that Touraine's red wines are “absurdly undervalued.”

The nose of the wine has significant floral elements, perfume constituents, though these are deep and sultry rather than light and flowery: violet with echoes of rose, couched in an earthy substrate of black olive and sweet dark mushroom. The fruit element is raspberry of a depth you don't often find in the berries themselves, unless you pick them yourself at the key point in the season. The fruit expands on the palate in concert with tannins and acidity that have fortitude, but yet round out into a redolent softness.

Frederic Mabileau cuts a photogenic figure standing among the old vines on his 27 hectare estate. You get the idea that he's proud of being a young, with-it winemaker and at the same time justly proud of the land that allows him to do such great things with such a civilized grape.

Verdict: Don't drink it all at once
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Seductive wines never hit you right in the face. They present their mysteries in layers and intoxicate you in stages.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award


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