Three lovely - and affordable - Loire reds

I’ve always had a soft spot for Loire reds. They can be a little lean and challenging at times, but I quite like my wines a bit lean, when I’m in certain moods. These three are delicious, and comparative bargains.

Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges 2018 Loire, France
13.5% alcohol. This is pretty serious. It’s concentrated and intense with lovely rich black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, with a savoury, chalky undercurrent. This is a lovely vivid expression of Cabernet Franc with some floral detail, a bit of raspberry freshness, and good crunchy structure. Really lovely, and a complete bargain. 92/100 (£16.95 Lea & Sandeman – they also have half bottles at £8.95)

Domaine de Pierre Touraine Rouge 2016 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. This is old vine Gamay from the Loire, and it’s delicious. It shows lovely concentration and freshness, with robust raspberry and black cherry fruit, with a savoury, grippy, stony, gravelly edge. Lovely weight and precision here. There’s great depth to this, as well as freshness, and it shows quite a bit of structure. 92/100 (£12.95, Great Western Wine)

Les Nivières Cabernet Franc 2017 Saumur, Loire, France
13% alcohol.
Sand and limestone soils. Deeply coloured, this has a lovely gravelly, ashy, chalky edge to the bright berry fruits on the nose. It’s floral and expressive with lovely brightness and fresh raspberry crunch on the palate, as well as some richer blackcurrant fruit. Has some nice tannic grip and well integrated green notes. Expressive and delicious, with a firm finish. I really like this. 91/100 (£9.49 Ocado)

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