Critical Acclaim: New York Times, Eric Asimov July 10, 2020 "Domaine du Bel Air, run by a father-and-son team, makes fine, age-worthy wines from organic cabernet franc. Jour de Soif is their entry-level bottle, made from younger vines, which are nonetheless still 20 years old. Yet this is no mere vin de soif. You can sense the structure of the other cuvées in the fine tannins that give shape to this otherwise fresh and juicy wine. Not shy at 14.3 percent alcohol, it, too, would be great for grilled meats."
Taste: Medium in weight with crushed red fruits, light tannins, and prominent minerality, this is fresh Cabernet Franc at its best.
Winemaker/Winery: Domaine du Bel Air is a certified organic estate that has been creating traditional wines from Bourgeuil for the past five generations. Throughout the decades, the Gauthier family enjoyed their wines privately until 1979, when they began to sell their wines commercially. Pierre Gauthier, the man who oversaw this transformation, continues to make the wines today alongside his son, Rodolphe (collaborating together since 2005).
The domaine produces fairly deep, age-worthy Cabernet Francs from their 18 hectares located in Benais, a 200-hectare area just east of Bourgeuil. The region is famous for its clay-limestone terrain, as well as the numerous, impressive caves carved into the tufa. These caves were created by the French as they extracted this porous rock (called "pierre de Loire" or "tuffeaux") over the centuries. This tuffeaux help create France's imposing fortresses against the barbarians (then the English), and were later transformed into breathtaking chateaux during the Renaissance. Though rock excavation had significantly decreased after the Revolution – during which some chateau were used as barracks, others for prisons - the practice continued in some areas as late as 1950.