The Best Young Clos Senechal Ever? - The 2006 from Catherine & Pierre Breton

11/17/2007 -

So the new vintage of Breton Bourgeuil Clos Sénéchal dropped today and I opened one up instantly. This was some seriously deep purple liquid. Almost black. I knew there was going to be a serious amount of fruit and structure. Well this had structure and fruit for days. Amazingly nose of mashed flowers, herbal notes, cassis, loam, cherry, mint, old wood, cinnamon and minerals. It has an aromatic spectrum that I have rarely encountered in a young Clos Sénéchal. The palate is a whole 'nuther story. Rich, heady and powerful but with perfect delineation. This is the most concentrated young Sénéchal I have ever had. The flavors tend to lean towards cassis, pepper and raspberry bordering on a confit level of extraction. The finish is long and very minerally. Exceedingly young but man this is a promising wine that is just stuffed right up to the cork with Cabernet Franc goodness. I have no problem going out on a limb and saying these will be alive and kicking when I am cashing my first social security check.

The Clos Sénéchal is considered one of the best sites in Bourgueil, in the village of Benais. It's a 1.15 hectare baronial clos with high stone walls still partially surrounding. The Clos is in a unique microclimate near the top of the slope where there is protection from the north winds by the forest on the hill. The soil is sandy clay over limestone (tufa). It is plowed multiple times in the spring to lessen the risk of frost from the long grass, after which the plants between the vines are allowed to grow. Farmed organically and hand harvested into very small (10 kilo) baskets. Fermentation is with wild yeasts, of course, and is without pigeage, aging is in some new, but mostly used barrels and botlling is without fining or filtration. Minimal use of SO2. The yield is typically 35 hl/ha.

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