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Noëlla Morantin Tango Atlantico 2017

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Touraine, Loire, France
Cabernet Franc & Malbec
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, minimal additional sulphites

Since starting to make wine in 2001, Noëlla has trained with and worked alongside some of the great names of the Loire. A couple of years with Agnès and René Mosse in Anjou led to her becoming the vineyard manager at Les Bois Lucas after becoming friends with Junko Ara, then onto renting parcels of the feted Clos Roche Blanche estate in Touraine from Catherine Roussel and Didier Barrouillet. She now makes wine with fruit from a mixture of owned and rented parcels at her beautiful cellar carved out of the hillside in Thésée; a testament to her hard work and determination over the last 18 years.

Noëlla chooses to work under the more general VDF denomination rather than AOC and her wines stand apart from the perceived notion of Touraine. “If it doesn’t smell like cat piss, you don’t get the appellation” she quips - but only half jokingly. She refers to the prevalence of industrial yeasts used in the area to enhance supposedly typical flavours in the wine. Noella ferments with native yeasts and seeks a longer maturation period in old barrels than is usual, meaning her wines are released much later than many other producers nearby. This patience is rewarded with sublime depth and texture in the wine; rich and fully-ripened Sauvignon Blanc, deep-fruited Cabernet Franc and velvet-soft Malbec.

Tango Atlantico is a blend of two separate vinifications of Cabernet Franc and Malbec in fibreglass tanks, before being blended and aged in old barrels for 18 months. The wine shows the bright, herbaceous hallmarks of Cabernet Franc with a dark-fruited, savoury undertone from the Malbec. An unconventional pairing but one that makes so much sense.