Cabernet D’Anjou, 1978. Chateau de Cheman| Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | May 1984

Anjou is a province of the Loire region of France. The most popular wine exported to the United States from this region is Anjou Rose. Sometimes it is very good, at other times it is just ho-hum. (Usually because it is too old and has lost its fruitiness). There are better wines that are not too well known, and importers hesitate to commit, consequently we do not see them in this country.

Some years back, I met the son of a wine maker from the Anjou region. He had moved here and was offering wines from the family vineyards near Blaison. Gerard Antoine has since advanced to become a true negociant in California. In addition to repre­senting his family wines from the Loire, he has expanded his offer­ings to include other wines.

Chateau de Cheman is the family estate. It has a history that spans back to the Fifteenth Century, with different ownerships. The present owners are Dr. and Mrs. Antoine, who purchased the property and completely restored the Chateau after World War II. Mrs. Antoine is winemaker, and the wine you will be tasting was made by her.

The vines growing in the vine­yards of Chateau de Cheman were brought from Bordeaux many years ago. In particularly good vintage years, the Antoines bottle a limit­ed quantity of unblended Cabernet and market it privately to select clientele in France. Gerard, their son, is allocated a part of this production for America.

The Cabernet of Anjou is the Cabernet Franc grape. Botanically, it is one of the close cousins of Cabernet Sauvignon. In the Bordeaux region of France, it is a secondary grape and often used for blending purposes. The Bordelais do not consider it as noble a grape. In the Loire region, various districts produce a red wine from this grape. In the Anjou district, the emphasis is more on rose wines, and the ordinary ones are blends with some sweetness. These are usually labeled “Anjou Rose”. The better wines are labeled “cabernet d’Anjou”, and are available both red and rose. They even have a different appellation, which in­cludes the name of the grape. I selected what the Antoine’s market as a rose. In the true sense of the word, this wine is a rose; yet its style and taste, is more a “blanc de noir” or “white wine from black grapes”. (removal of the skins immediately after crushing the red grapes, to eliminate the color from the skin of the grape remaining in the wine). The style of these wines is usually dry, with more body than the conventional rose wines.

Being a Cabernet, the wine can have good staying power, when well made. Our wine shows amazing character for its age. In fact the few years it has laid in the bottle has brought it to a perfect peak.

Our wine is light orange pink in color, with some bubbles indi­cating possible spritziness. It has a fruity aroma, with a herbaceous bouquet. The taste shows some spritz. It has a medium body, with a flavorful varietal character. Well balanced. The depth of the taste lingers for a long time, and finishes with a hint of pleasant acid. Serve chilled as an aperitif wine, with seafood dishes, or with veal dishes.

Cellaring Notes: At its prime. Not for ageing. Will be fine for the next 12 months.

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