Mad Hatter

Fell in love with this producer’s Loire-style cab-franc and chenin several years ago, although there is also a “left-bank” cab blend on the roster. Inexpensive and fun, deliberately produced, I snatch them up whenever they show. Found this one lurking on a shop-shelf today and couldn’t resist. Ruby-garnet in the glass, it is tight and un-effusive of noticeable traits typically pouring from Chinon. Muddy and feeling almost oxidized, the fruit a dull thud around a fairly expression-less nose of dusky berry and dirt, a soggy bar-mop of expressionless funk flirtingly sour at the edges. The fruit is there: rich dark cherry ripens from the bowels of plentiful air, but does little to counter-act the flaccid bouquet of nothingness.

On the palate, a completely drinkable wine, though rather expressionless in countenance. Spicy and sharp mid-way, it brightens refreshingly away from expectations of chubbiness, but never really gets off the ground in terms of substance. Medium tannins frame the finish, obscuring the lack of charm further, and highlighting the thinness of fruit. A wine–if you’ve tasted the others–quite disappointing in merit and nuance, feeling like a mop-the-floor cellar blend and containing nothing age or air will fix. A completely serviceable lunch-time wine–one which will soothe and please many palates, but lacking the magic of the CF bottlings I have experienced here-to-for from this label. Easy-drinking and enjoyable, for the price a justifiable bottle.

2016 MADELEINE ‘Maddie’ Red Wine CF+ Monterey Co. Central Coast 13.5

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