There are a few worse ways to spend a weekend evening than sharing wine with a friend. Sometimes there is even pizza, so things get even better. Last weekend’s wines had a theme: Loire valley weird stuff.
We started out with the Cuvee du Rosier 2013 by Pascal Janvier in the Coteaux du Loir AOC. It’s a light summer red to serve chilled, made from a pretty obscure grape called Pineau d’Aunis. The Coteaux du Loir appellation is located on a hill overlooking the Loir river, a tributary of the Loire river. I know, it’s dumb that the Loir is a tributary of the Loire, but hey,… The wine is light in color with red fruit notes, spicy undertones and a “meaty” aspect on the nose (interestingly enough, Pascal Janvier, the wine maker, is a butcher by trade). The acidity is high and the alcohol level pretty low, served young and chilled it will go well with cold cuts, appetizers or even grilled meat and veggies. It retails between $15 and $20 and it’s a well-made, original wine made from a variety that was described as the Hipster of all varieties by my wine shop guy.
The second wine was le Grolleau, Clau de Nell 2011 by Anne-Claude Leflaive. Now, you see the name Leflaive and you think Burgundy. You might even be a little bit more precise and think Puligny-Montrachet. You’d be right, Anne-Claude has been running the Leflaive estate in Burgundy since 1994, it’s one of the great estates of Burgundy, producing incredible white wines, including some Grand Crus (Montrachet, Batard-Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet and Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet). Anne-Claude Leflaive bought some land in the Loire Valley in 2008 to experiment with a different environment and that’s how the Clau de Nell came to existence. This particular wine is made from the Grolleau variety, a Loire Valley grape often used in Anjou to produce rose wine. The wine is light bodied with high acidity, served chilled too. It’s aged in Burgundy casks which shows through a hint of smokiness. The main aromas will be floral with violets come to the foreground. It’s more expensive than the Cuvee du Rosier with prices ranging between $35 and $40 but it’s an extremely well made, interesting wine, not just a thirst quencher like the other.