It's Bastille Day, so a good time to think about my French heritage. My maternal lineage hails from the Loire, from the tiny village of Faye-la-Vineuse. (I wish I'd known Faye. Given her vinous proclivities, I'm sure we'd have gotten along famously.)
In celebration, tonight we opened a Saumur-Champigny, a wine made not too far from my ancestral stomping grounds. It's 100% cabernet franc and deep ruby in the glass. The nose is spicy and peppery, and blooms with fresh herbs like catmint and tarragon. It somehow manages to smell both fresh and dark, young and old, with bright ripe fruits like strawberry and black raspberry standing forward against darker brambles, plus a plummy earthiness. On the palate it's supple, with smooth, spreading fruit and good acidity. It finishes dry, astringent like strong black tea.
"This wine is about its nose," my husband observed. And for me, it's about its provenance, too.