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Breton 2005 Bourgueil “Nuits d’Ivresse” (Loire) – Since I’m incapable of holding on to this wine long enough to see how it ages, I have to rely on more responsible pals to find out how long the nights of drunkenness can last. It turns out: at least this long, and quite possibly longer. This is one of the most overtly appealing wines from this appellation, grape, or producer I’ve ever tasted…it practically sings with polychromatic beauty. (10/11)

Picasses? Oh.

C&P Breton 1997 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Really beautiful, singing in full-throated joy at its maturity (which is probably at peak right now, though it will almost certainly hold for a good while longer, after which softer melodies will be what it offers). Black and dark green herbs, grass, tobacco, dusty coal-black minerality, and a sawtooth-edged structure…all of which somehow managed to, in concert, present themselves as strangely “pretty.” I love this wine, and wish I had a lot more of it, rather than just a few bottles. (9/11)

Stolen Christmas

C&P Breton 2009 Bourgueil “Trinch!” (Loire) – Scratchy wild berries and herb, all a-stew, brightened by acidity and sharpened by a quinine-like bitterness. Its structure creates an appealing gluggability that empties the bottle in awfully short order. (7/11)

Where’s Grandpont?

C&P Breton Bourgueil 1997 Grandmont (Loire) – The fruit hangs on, still, and what’s most notable about it isn’t its presence, but its largely primary nature. There’s not much of it anymore, but its keening hum is still as rounded and dark-berried as it was in this wine’s youth. Mostly, though, the fruit’s fade has slowly revealed the post-burn minerality and fine-ground herbs within. As befits a ’97, it’s all a bit forward and upfront; more “classic’ vintages show less fruit but more temporal balance and persistence. (6/11)

Chets nous

C&P Breton 1996 Bourgueil Galichets (Loire) – Dusty, finely-honed structure. Graphite powder clouds. Black, sullen strips of flesh-torn berries. Still solid, though the tannin is getting a bit abrasive, and I think most folks will want to think about drinking this. Optimistic necrophiles can wait; the fruit’s not yet mature. (5/11)

Sénéchal we dance?

C&P Breton 1997 Bourgueil Clos Sénéchal (Loire) – A spice blend of dark grey minerals and ground-up herbs, more tactile and powdery than liquid at this stage. There’s a dark, quinine-like note to what little liquidity there is. I don’t know if this is quite as appealing as it was a few years ago, but I’d call it fully mature at this point, though I suppose in no real danger of collapsing; what’s left seems pretty sturdy. (5/11)

Picasses…no, pick them

C&P Breton 1997 Chinon Les Picasses (Loire) – Expansive. It throws down a game board – a virtual one, I think, because it’s expansive – of soil, vegetation, and fungal growth, then starts layering it with sprinkler-sprays of matured dark plums, black truffles, earthdust, thyme broth…and then those repeat in random order. Lush with flavor but not in texture, its elbows and knees only add to the overall appeal. Really, really good. Could it hold, or even develop, longer? Yes, I think so. But it’s very enticing now. (2/11)

Francly, my dear…

C&P Breton 2006 Bourgueil “Franc de Pied” (Loire) – Cellar-culling, and here I found a bottle unwisely stashed amongst the ageable Loire reds. No, not with this closure. It is still just barely appealing, with highly aromatic herbal/soil notes dominant, but the fruit is well on its way to complete desiccation and the tannin is harsh and sandpapery. Don’t make my mistake (though if this advice is still useful, I guess you already have). (11/10)

My Galichets Friday

C&P Breton 2004 Bourgueil Les Galichets (Loire) – Green fruit…ripe but edged with herbs, stems, seeds, and skins…and dark, almost gritty soil. There are already mature notes floating about, and given the closure I wouldn’t hold the wine any longer anyway. (6/10)

C&P Breton 2004 Bourgueil Les Galichets (Loire) – Virtually identical to the previous bottle, with a bit more dark soil and intensity, plus more surviving structure. Despite this, the wine actually shows more maturity (in the form of tertiary spice/soil notes) than the previous. In any case, the advice to drink up holds. (6/10)

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