WINE OF THE WEEK: 2010 Chateau de Coulaine 'Bonnaventure' Chinon; from France's Loire Valley; costs about $20; serve with duck, coq au vin, grilled meats and cheese.
In Bordeaux, cabernet franc plays second fiddle, adding a touch of spice to cabernet sauvignon blends. But in the Loire Valley, it shines on its own in Chinon and Bourgueil.
Here's a lovely Chinon from Chateau de Coulaine, an estate that dates to 1300. Etienne de Bonnaventure farms his Chinon vineyards organically and vinifies his wines simply and naturally using indigenous yeasts. The wine is a rich, ruby-red, its intense dark-berry flavor laced with Chinon's characteristic spice and pepper. The texture is silky, the tannins tamed. It's wonderful with roast duck, grilled duck breast or sausages, braised stews and coq au vin. It's also a good choice to serve with a cheese course.