2014 Chateau Tour Grise Chenin Noir
Region: Saumur < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Pineau d’Aunis
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic and biodynamic by Ecocert & Biodyvin; halk and tuffeau (soft yellow limestone) based soil. 100% de-stemmed and vinified in stainless steel tank from 4 – 5 days and then transferred to œufs en béton (big concrete eggs) to complete its fermentation and aging; bottled unfined/unfiltered with <30ppm added SO2
Winemaker: Philippe Gaudron
Philippe Gaudron is not your typical natural wine vigneron. Well past middle age, he doesn’t fit the typical profile of a young, brash renegade. In reality, he’s old enough to be the father of many of his contemporaries, and this new generation of winemakers has Philippe to thank for paving the way for their success. The two do share a common thread – questioning authority and challenging the status quo. Philippe and his wife, Françoise were at the forefront of organic and biodynamic farming trends when they bought their land in 1990, and Philippe became an outspoken proponent of this way of vineyard working, as well as traditional, hands-off winemaking. As a result, he and his wines fell out of favor with the AOC system, although the important thing – the wine in the bottle – remains top notch, terroir-driven and unique. This gorgeous pale ruby wine is made as a red wine, despite the clearly rosé appearance. The grape is Pineau d’Aunis, which used to be widely planted in the Loire region but has now almost completely disappeared. Its rather exciting to take this step back in time with a thoroughly modern wine which is also textbook vin de soif. Youthful, effervescent (yes, a little spritz!) with textured flavors of blood orange, sour cherry, and pink peppercorn, and some friendly but well-placed tannins that add the right amount of complexity. Serve it with a slight chill with practically anything – perfect for a picnic or a BBQ where an array of snacky items will be consumed.