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Chateau du Petit Thouars
This recent Neal Rosenthal find is the best "new" Chinon we've ever tasted—and one of the most exciting wines we've come across in ages. So why the scare quotes on a wine so good?Well, there's new and there's "new." Back in the 1930s when the French government was creating the Chinon AOC, Château du Petit Thouars' home village, Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne, was supposed to be part of the appellation. It's right on the Chinon/Saumur-Campigny border, plum between the two greatest Loire terroirs for Cabernet Franc.It was more than worthy of the appellation. But Saint-Germain-sur-Vienne's producers thought the Touraine name was the better bet (it was the more famous, then) so they opted out of Chinon.Big mistake.Petit Thouars' children and grandchildren have suffered lower incomes ever since. Then, in 2012, the laws changed again. The Touraine police outlawed 100% Cabernet Franc wines. Don't ask us why. They just did. So the Château went back on hands and knees to ask the Chinon authorities if they would admit them. From 2015, they have been able to call their wines Chinon. That's "new."Laws come and go, but terroir doesn't abide by boundaries or legislation. Saint-Germain's terroir is what it has always been: less sandy than you find in most of Chinon, closer to the clay-limestone mix that creates those seducing Saumurs. But also our favorite Chinon often have limestone below their feet as well.Add it all up and you have a terrific, bistro styled Cabernet Franc that is priced nice for everyday consumption