2015 Bainbridge and Cathcart Cuvée Rouge Aux Lèvres
Region: Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Grolleau Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic, uses biodynamic treatments; 85-100 year-old vines; fermented whole cluster and aged in vat, bottled by hand; 11.5% ABV
Winemaker: Toby Bainbridge
Bainbridge & Cathcart is the natural wine project of British ex-pat Toby Bainbridge and wife Julie, a native Oklahoman. For years, Toby was one of the winemakers for famed Domaine Mosse in Anjou, where he learned to farm biodynamically. Now Toby is on his own and emerging as a leader in France’s exploding natural wine scene. Grolleau Noir is only found at this end of the Loire, and is usually just a blending grape. Here the grapes undergo 3 weeks of whole bunch semi-carbonic maceration, which transforms the tough and rustic Grolleau into an entirely different creature altogether. Crisp and dry with red berries, plums and black pepper, soft tannins and lots of juicy goodness, the Rouge Aux Lèvres has become our favorite everyday wine. And if you know Toby, that is exactly what he intended! He told me once that there are plenty of wines out there to think and ponder, and his are intentionally not those. So don’t overthink this bottle, just give it a light chill, then pop and enjoy with glee. Wheeee!