There's not much more one can say about press darling Domaine Baudry, and its reference standard Chinons, that hasn't already been written. For my part, easily the best producer in Chinon and, along with Clos Rougeard, the best source of Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley. Starting with just a couple of hectares of vines in the 1970's from family holdings, Bernard Baudry has grown the domaine to its current size of 25 hectares.
Soil types in the Loire Valley have everything to with the Loire itself with vineyard sites close to the river being alluvial in origin meaning gravel and some silica and hillsides being mainly clay; the former typically producing lighter, more elegant wines and the hillsides more substantial examples. The very best terroirs tend to be the tops of the hills where pure, chalky limestone is found close to or at the surface with shallow clay topsoil. This is the source of the Croix Boissée, Baudry's rarest and best cuvée.
The Croix Boissée, one of five distinctly different Cabernet Francs produced here, comes from a 2.5 hectare parcel with a full south exposition. Farming is organic, yields are very low and élevage is done in old wood, 18 months in this case. The structured nature of this cuvée requires extended barrel aging and the result is a pure, structured and complex wine.
The 2011 vintage in the Loire wasn't an ideal one. A promising, dry and warm spring gave way to a cold, damp summer. Vineyards near the river needed lots of tlc with the threat of rot a constant issue. Most growers harvested by mid-September, just as the weather was turning warm and sunny, before rot could really set in. Hilltop parcels like the Croix Boissée have the advantage of good drainage and ventilation and were able to take advantage of a couple of extra weeks of warm, dry weather. The result is a classic Chinon of the highest order.
The 2011 La Croix Boissée is a stunner. Reminscent of the 2005, the 2011 reveals the warmth of the harvest with lush fruit and gorgeous aromatics. Classic Cab Franc structure holds it all together. Deep purple color. Pretty notes of flowers, tobacco and minerals on the nose with mineral-charged black and blue fruit flavors. One of the few remaining wines you can buy anywhere near this good for the price.