Jacky Blot has been a force in re-shaping the story of the central Loire Valley. Recently, we had a tremendous response to his dry Vouvray Bretonniere monopole, and today we turn to his top Cabernet Franc, the 2015 Bourgueil Mi-Pente. In its own right, Mi-Pente is a benchmark Loire Cabernet Franc and a triumph certainly for the village of Bourgueil - one excluviely focused on this variety. However, the approachable personality from this Grand Cru vineyard full of black and purple fruits, lavender, and tobacco always brings an arms wide open reception that appeals to most New World drinkers, as well as Loire purists. This is Cabernet Franc fit for the global stage.

Jacky taps 70-yr-old vines on this direct south-facing site. Mi-Pente has long been regarded as a top vineyard of Bourgueil for its very thin topsoil over deep limestone bedrock. The most age-worthy and structured wines from here, as well as Chinon and Saumur, come from sites with this similar high proportion of active limestone. But, it's this mid-slope placement and southern exposition that drench the site with an amplitude of ripeness that's singularly Grand Cru in nature.

Blot uses 20% new French oak barrels for Mi-Pente, buffering the definition of structure and concentration in gorgeous fashion. There's no perceptible new oak impartation as far as flavor, but the silkiest tannins wrap everything together finishing with perfect balance. At once there's nervy detail, and at the same time palate-staining depth of dark fruits and spice. In 2015, the power behind every characteristic is elevated without losing any sense of snap.

2015 is mostly characterized throughout France as a warm and dry year. In the Loire Valley the red wines really excel in these vintages, never showing roasted or overly-forward fruit notes that can plague more southern appelations. For me, Bourgueil has always been the cool side of the pillow for Cabernet Franc, and this vintage is one that highlights every magical element of Jacky's touch.

2015 Jacky Blot (Domaine de la Butte) Bourgueil Mi-Pente
$40 per bottle.