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WINE OF THE WEEK: Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2020, Loire, France

£17.25, Yapp Brothers

I’ve always like Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, even way back when I started in wine and it was a leafy green shadow of today’s climate-changed styles. I liked the crunch of the barely ripe red and black fruit and the flavours of currant leaves, graphite and spicy fresh bay leaves. I even liked the light but slightly scratchy tannins.

Although climate change has given the wines a darker, riper, fuller signature, helped along by region-wide improvements in winemaking, Domaine Filliatreau's wines always retain their Loire Valley Cabernet Franc essence.

The estate, now 45 hectares and all organic since 2020 and biodynamic since 2021, has been producing some of the best Saumur Champigny and Saumur for decades, with Paul Filliatreau at the helm for an impressive 56 years. Meanwhile Yapp Brothers has been importing the wines for 47 years. Impressive records, both.

The deep ruby-purple 2020 Saumur Champigny is made from 35-plus year old vines and wraps ripe summer berries with green-herb freshness and spice, a silk-velvet texture and effortless concentration.

Serve it cool with the likes of charcuterie, bresaola, lamb chops, seared tuna steaks, rabbit stew with olives (coniglio alla Ligure) or summer veg and with seasonings and sauces such as za’atar, chimichurri and salsa verde. Or take it on a picnic – radio presenter and knowledgeable wine enthusiast Zeb Soanes tells me it's his favourite picnic wine. 13.5%. Empty bottle weight: 574g.

Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny 2020, Loire Valley, France

£17.25, Yapp Brothers

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