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Besides being one of the toughest appellations to spell in France, Bourgueil always represents a fine value when a good one is purchased and drunk. Located between Tours and Saumur it seems to always be in the shadow of Chinon and Saumur-Champigny. It still is, but that does keep the price down and the secret kept. The soil is mostly sand or gravel but there are slopes of clay and tuffeau. There is also a gravel plateau (similar to Pauillac) where the grapes tend to ripen earlier and in theory create more complex wines. 

The wines typically have dark/black fruit flavor profiles and have a rustic, earthy and slightly unrefined character that is similar to Saumur and sometimes Chinon. What separates Bourgueil from the rest of the Loire Cabernet Franc appellations is its many south facing slopes and the more powerful and deep aromas you get from the gravelly soils like pencil shavings, which again is similar to Pauillac. The tannins also seem to be a bit more aggressive and toothsome than say Chinon or Saumur

Another interesting factoid is that since 2000, Bourgueil as well as Chinon, allow 25% of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Most, if not all, of the producers recommended use only 100% Cabernet Franc. I suspect this law was passed due to Cabernet Sauvignon's success in gravelly soils. 

There is some rose made but only in nominal amounts and few if any are exported to the United States market. Bourgueil typically can be purchased from $13 up to $35 for the best examples. The top examples, like the wines of Catherine and Pierre Breton, particularly the Perrieres and Clos Senechal, can age for 20-30 years, but in general Bourgueil from ripe vintages can age for 5-10 years. Also Pierre Jacques Druet used to make phenomenal Bourgueil and his top wines from 1996, 1995, 1989 are incredible especially the Vaumoreau bottling from 100 year old plus Cabernet Franc vines. 

Notable Recent Vintages: 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1996, 1995

Top Producers (in no particular order) include: 
  • Catherine & Pierre Breton 
  • Yannick Amirault
  • Pierre Jacques Druet ('97 and older)
  • Domaine Guion (organic since 1965!)
  • Frederic Mabileau
  • Joel Taluau
  • Xavier Courant (Domaine de l'Oubilee)
  • Domaine de la Butte 
  • Domaine de la Chanteleuserie
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