About the Wine
Domaine Couly-Dutheil has become, over the years, a reference point for the appellation of Chinon and one of the Loire Valley's most famous estates. Established in 1921 by Baptiste Dutheil, then developed by his daughter, Madeleine Dutheil, and her husband René Couly, today Couly-Dutheil remains a family Domaine, owned by the third and fourth generation. Arnaud Couly is the fourth generation and current winemaker, having taken over from his father, Jacques Couly, in 2003. Couly Dutheil owns a total of 90 hectares of vines, 98% of which are Cabernet Franc.
They sell 80% of their production within France, most of which is served at many of the finest restaurants in the country, including 21 of the 26 Michelin 3-Star restaurants. The multi-level, state-of-the-art facility is built into the limestone rock hillside and features a gravity-flow design to ensure maximum protection of the grapes and wine during each stage.
La Baronnie Madeleine is bottled only in top-quality vintages, only after a blind tasting confirms its success. If the blind tasting does not show the wine to be superior, the wine is incorporated into the lesser cuvées and not bottled separately as Baronnie Madeleine. The cuvée, named for the winemaker's grandmother, represents the style of the "Feminine Ideal: richness and elegance." The wine must be round, charming, and complex with elegant and rich tannins to ensure good aging potential. In the vineyard, integrated farming systems are employed, leaves are thinned to increase ripeness, and grapes are tested in the laboratory.
Tasting Notes: 100% Cabernet Franc. Lovely intense ruby color appearance with a purplish reflection. The bouquet is superb with red fruit aromas and spicy notes. Generous and elegant, with rich, high-quality tannins, this wine is very well-balanced.
The 2018 Chinon La Baronnie Madeleine is very intense and aromatic on the fruity and floral nose that reveals perfectly ripe cherry, stewed blackberry, and blackcurrant aromas. Bottled with 15% alcohol, this is a very rich, round, intense, almost Port-like Cabernet Franc with massive power and tannins, which are fine, though, and not drying at all. This is a charming, almost Languedoc-styled Chinon that is respectable but really not my cup of tea when it comes to Loire reds. However, I am sure many readers would appreciate this generous fruit-intense, elegant, and somewhat smoky style. Tasted in May 2021. ~92 Robert Parker
The 2018 Chinon Baronnie Madeleine is a full-bodied, powerful wine hailing from two sites on the clay-limestone plateau in Chinon. This is from a warm vintage, so you can expect fully ripe fruit, succulence, and a good lick of alcohol (14.5%) adding richness. It retains its red fruit but there's also a hint of riper black cherry, as well as a peppery note and the merest hint of green. Surprisingly refreshing acidity considering the ripeness of the fruit. A huge wine that is nowhere near ready to drink, but even when it is, it will still be a real mouthful of Cabernet Franc. ~91 Vinous Media
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