What to drink during the summer from hell; Frantz Saumon Melon de Bourgogne 'Vin de Frantz'. I first tasted the wine at his kitchen table while visiting the Loire Valley last summer. We sat with Marie, his wife (and winemaker) snacking on chevre, petting a pesky new kitty, and discussing wine in broken English. It was idyllic and honest.
Frantz’s cellar is located in Montlouis (a sub region just outside of Vouvray) but his negoce fruit (the melon) is vinified at his home; a larger cellar shared with his wife in Azay Rideau. There is a simplistic beauty to all of his wines that is unencumbered by flaws; the fruit and terroir shines. The melon is intended to be a simple wine for easing the hottest summer days and passing the time with good friends.
The wine smells like being on the edge of a forest before it rains. There is a sensation of water and freshness, but enveloped in green. And tastes like an underripe blueberry pulled off the bush and brushed gently with raw honey (trust me; I went berry picking 2 weeks ago).
Drinking the wine always transports me back to the warmth I felt exuding from that home and the region. The wine gives me hope for humanity and a faith that monotony is only an illusion, after drinking a case. Nuances and beauty can be found in even the simplest things. It is not a summer for Burgundy and opulence; I am learning to find joy in restraint.
Pairs well with a Carhart fanny pack, old New Balance 503, and long walks.
Frantz Saumon established his domaine in Montlouis-sur-Loire in 2002, after a few stints as a forester here (in France) and there (in Canada), and a stage with Christian Chaussard of Domaine le Briseau, an influential voice in the “vin naturel” world who passed away not long ago.