Domaine du Bel Air is a small family winery in the town of Restigne. Pierre and his son Rodolphe farm their 40 year old Cabernet Franc vines organically. The vines are planted on a mix of limestone and chalky clay. The grapes are hand harvested, the fermentation happens in cement tanks, and then 1/3 of the wine is aged in used 225L oak barrels.
This is excellent, classic, and impressively ripe Cabernet Franc from the Loire. The wine has a dark slightly spicy aroma. There's juicy blackberry that hits you first but also aromas of cranberry and dried cherries. There's pretty much no leafy or unripe flavors; just dark, wild, berry fruit and a hint of wood smoke. Bel Air's Bourgueil smells like an autumn desert!
Palate: pretty dense cherry fruit but the wine has some nice acidity to it that keeps the flavor fresh and fun and light on it's feet. This is medium bodied, but on the full side for Loire Cabernet Franc. I'm impressed, it's very well balanced and integrated. Bel Air's wine makes me think 2013 must have been a particularly good vintage in the central Loire because while this is good now it tastes like it would stand a decade of aging and just improve. The dark berry fruit and slight zip that also makes me think raspberry/cherry are the driving component of this Bourgueil, but there's a bit of black pepper and a hint of bittersweet chocolate in the mid-palate as well; plus just the right amount of integrated tannin in the back.
Give this wine a bit of time to breathe after you open it and it will really impress. Considering how inexpensive this is it's a great candidate to buy 6 or a case and see how wine ages.
The Bel Air Bourgueil is available for about $16 at Rosemont Market, OhNo Cafe, RSVP, Aurora Provisions, and House Wine in Bar harbor