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The Observer

Published:  23 July, 2008

TIM ATKIN MW briefly experiences a taste of monastical life while spending three nights in a hard and narrow' bed in the Abb de Fontevraud, to play his part in the judging at an international Cabernet Franc convention. There is a sense that Cabernet Franc is an outcasts' grape,' says Atkin. It's not quite a leper among varieties... but it's definitely not part of the mainstream.' This doesn't mean that it isn't worthy, argues Atkin, who reports that there's plenty of work going on in the Loire Valley under the influence of Sam Harrop MW, who has encouraged producers to pick their grapes later and to make wines with softer, more approachable, tannins'. Atkin advises readers to try 2005 Monastier Cabernet Franc, Vin de Pays d'Oc (4.99; Majestic).