Château Yvonne Offers A Trio of Cab Franc & Pineau d'Aunis Delights
Château Yvonne's baby wines — the Île Quatre Sous and La Folie — are some of the most delicious Cabernet Francs we can think of. They're beautiful, endlessly drinkable expressions of Saumur-Champigny's opulent fruit and clay-and-limestone minerality. And we have an exciting, super limited Pineau d’Aunis that perfectly expresses all of that obscure grape’s fun, flirty character.
Chateau Yvonne is an ancient vineyard site that had long laid abandoned before it was restored by Mathieu Vallée back in 1997. Clos Rougeard’s influence can be felt here, since it was Rougeard’s Françoise Foucault that helped with the restoration. The mission was to make serious, ageworthy Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. At that, they have succeeded resoundingly. But it’s the more casual side of Château Yvonne that really intrigues us.
“L’Île Quatre Sous” is the least expensive in the lineup, yet it’s still a single-vineyard wine, with some pretty old vines! The site is unique for its high percentage of sand (in addition to the classic clay and limestone). Sandy soils often translate into wines with softer tannins, which is true here – you can drink this wine on release, no decant required. It brims with flavors of raspberry and cherry, but also those with subtle savory notes of pipe tobacco and brie that remind you that this could only be Loire Valley Cabernet Franc.
Then they step up to “La Folie”. The soils have more limestone, and some old barriques are used in the élévage. It’s still easy-drinking, and there’s still plenty of joy, but if you want, you can stop and think about this one for a few moments before going back to glou glou.
Pineau d’Aunis is an ancient variety of the Loire, beloved by medieval kings and nobility. Over the centuries, the acreage dedicated to it has shrunk — there’s estimated to be less than 500 hectares growing today. Which is a real shame! Pineau d'Aunis wines are full of punchy wild berries and savory aromas of smoke and white pepper; they're delicate and intense. Yvonne's 'Bay Rouge' is quaffable but complex, a perfect sip alongside your holiday feast or served as an aperitif.
Château Yvonne, Saumur-Champigny 'L'Ile Quatre Sous', 2022 $27.99
“L’Ile Quatre Sous” is true bistro Cabernet Franc. The grapes are grown in sandier soils and the wines are raised entirely in concrete. The result is a fresh and easy-drinking wine. Pure joy, and no thinking required.
Château Yvonne, Saumur-Champigny 'La Folie', 2022 $33.99
A combination of old vines (dating to the ‘70s), a cool climate, and hard, limestone-rich soils contribute to the understated elegance of this wine. Mineral-driven, with slightly grippy tannins, we love this wine for its complexity and savoriness.
Château Yvonne, Pineau D'Aunis Val De Loire "Bay Rouge", 2022 $38.99
Punchy white pepper, a splash of grapefruit pith and lots of sour cherry come together for a spicy, earthy, just plain refreshing bottle. It’s always a treat to taste this rare Loire Valley grape all on its own.
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