2005 Catherine and Pierre Breton Chinon 'Beaumont'

The other night at Bastide, I tasted a fabulous Bourgueil from Catherine and Pierre Breton in France's Loire Valley. The estate has been organic for 16 years, bio-dynamic for just over a decade. Like its sister appellation Chinon, Bourgueil is Cabernet Franc all the way. And while the wine lover in me covets that bottle of single vineyard Bourgueil, my pocketbook leans toward the couple's delicious basic Chinon.

The 2005 Chinon "Beaumont" has some age on it, softening its tannins and rounding out the velvety mouth feel. It is complex, weaving dark berries, wild herbs and a minerality into the taste. A classic, and under $20 at most places.

-- S. Irene Virbila

Region: Loire Valley, France

Price: $18 to $20

Style: Dry, earthy

Food it goes with: Roast Cornish game hens, grilled skirt steak, coq au vin, sautéed calf's liver.

Where you find it: John & Pete's Fine Wines & Spirits in West Hollywood, (310) 657-3080; www.johnandpetes.com; K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, (323) 464-9463; www.klwines.com; Vendome Wine & Spirits in Toluca Lake, (818) 766-9593; www.vendome; and Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX; www.winex.

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