So, the poor other half got back home a little doolally after a 3-hours exam on English grammar. The only two words I managed to get out of him were Cabernet and Franc. So clearly, it was time for the Loire panacea:
Ours was a 2016, by the way. Started a little unpromising; lovely nose, for sure - earthy, with a touch of smokiness (‘smells blue’ says he), some cherry, perhaps, and a nice menthol freshness. The palate, however, was a little disappointing. At first. A bit austere, not much fruit of which to speak - some savoury, herbal notes, and very chalky tannins. High acidity. We love our acidic red wine, but this seemed a little out of balance.
With food (hot smoked salmon pasta) and time, though - a different story. It really opened up to reveal sour cherry and cranberry fruit, delectable savoury notes and even some delicate liquorice (I realise this is a contradiction in terms, but you have to take my word for it). The tannins are smoother now, and the acidity much more balanced.
Was it worth three hours of deciphering English grammar? who can tell. It is lovely and delicately floral, though - as only Cab Francs from the Loire can be.