Philippe Alliet is part of a new generation of quality conscious winemakers from the Loire Valley who work hard in the vineyard and harvest at maximum ripeness. He is a small producer that started with less than 25 acres of Cabernet Franc vines in Chinon. But in 1999, he was able to purchase the beautiful Coteau de Noiré, a steep, south-facing vineyard planted on limestone-clay soil. Now, he is considered to be one of the best Loire Valley producer so I felt lucky when I found his wines at K&L Wine Merchants.
I recently served the 2002 Chinon Domaine Philippe Alliet Coteau de Noiré and the 2003 Chinon Vieilles Vignes Domaine Philippe Alliet at my birthday dinner to accompany the main entree, a boneless leg of lamb stuffed with mushroom, onion and herbs. These wines were both delicious although my preference went to the 2002 Coteau de Noiré.
In Chinon, the 2002 vintage was probably the best vintage since 1997. It produced red wines in a classic Loire style with a good balance fruit/acidity. The 2002 Chinon Coteau de Noiré had a deep red color and an attractive fruity nose. On the palate, it was concentrated with bell pepper flavors followed by a spicy and smoky finish.
2003 was the year of the heat wave in Europe and the earliest harvest since 1893. It produced wines with opulent fruit, higher alcohol, and lower acidity. The 2003 Chinon Vieilles Vignes was sweeter with riper fruit flavors but a notch less elegant than the 2002 Coteau de Noiré.
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