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Château Tour Grise 2001 Les Vigneux Cabernet Franc, Puy-Notre-Dame, Saumur, Loire Valley, France

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  • Winemaker:  Philippe and Françoise Gourdon
  • Farming: Biodynamic
  • Variety: Cabernet Franc
  • Terroir: single parcel Cab Franc over Tuffeau
  • Vinification: Fermented in concrete oval tank and aged in neutral wood. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. 

 Philippe and Françoise Gourdon founded Château Tour Grise in 1990, taking their half of a recognized family estate and striking out on their own with a deep commitment to organic and biodynamic farming and minimum intervention in the cellar. Before bio was cool, Philippe was animated by his like-minded, local, organic/biodynamic iconoclast peers of the 1990s, such as Guy Bossard, Nicolas Joly and Mark Angeli in trying to find meaningful and sustainable solutions to vineyard maladies. He is a staunch believer in promoting the greatest measure of biodiversity in the vineyard and in preserving the integrity of the vine in its quest for balance within the vineyard ecosystem. Tour Grise obtained biodynamic certification in 1998. Philippe and Françoise retired in 2015 but they remain active members of the Renaissance des Appellations committee and also spend a good deal of time training and helping those who have taken over their vineyards. Fortunately for us, they have deep cellars enabling us to continue to offer back vintages of several of their Saumur and Anjou bottlings.  At the same time, a number of young and committed growers have taken over Tour Grise's vineyards, each realizing their own independent takes on these prized parcels under their own labels. 

FROM OUR 2022 BOTTLE CLUB NOTES:

Château Tour Grise | Vignaux  Cabernet Franc  | Saumur, Loire Valley | 2001 

    We love aged wines. This is where Cabernet Franc tastes like when it’s old enough to drink (get it… it’s 21 years old..)!  Château Tour Gris’s story starts in 1990 when Philippe and Françoise Gourdon inherited some of their family estate and, inspired by local innovators Nicolas Joly and Guy Bossard, were full fledged proponents of organic and biodynamic agriculture in the Loire Valley.  This wine comes from a single parcel of biodynamic Cabernet Franc vines planted in tuffeau,  a fine-grained limestone famous in Saumur. Fermentation was spontaneous in concrete tanks and then aged in neutral oak barrels before being bottled with no fining or filtration. 

     Sadly, Château Tour Gris is no longer in operation, so this bottle is a remembrance of times past. The Gourdons retired in 2015 but they pay it forward by leasing biodynamic fruit to up-and-coming winemakers. And luckily for us, they kept a lot of their wine aging in their cellars, and every few years release a collection of perfectly aged wines at their peak. As wines age, we notice a lightening, or browning of its color, and a fruit characteristic that changes from juicy, fresh plums and cherries to more subtle, earthy flavors like dried strawberries, iron and tobacco.

    Aged Cabernet Franc like this will be perfect at the Thanksgiving table, but also compliment any roasted and earthy dishes, including porchetta, beluga lentils, or stuffed peppers. Due to its age and lack of filtration, we recommend decanting this wine before serving so your last glass isn’t full of sediment!

    Share this around the dinner party and reminisce about what you were doing back in September of 2001 when these grapes were harvested, and how much the world has changed since then (the writer of this note was a senior in high school!). 

 — Cara Patricia

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