Antoine Pouponneau and Alice Gitton created this micro-domaine from scratch, purchasing and renting small parcels of ancient vines in great terroirs along the Loire River near the town of Le Thoureil, halfway between Angers and Saumur. All of their vineyards are worked organically, and their spontaneously fermented wines are aged in wood in the tiny 5th-century chapel next to their home.
This playful blend of Grolleau Noir, Grolleau Gris, and Gamay is the domaine’s earliest-drinking red cuvée, with soft edges that take a chill well. The new vintage shows great freshness and brightness, making me think of tart berries picked in the forest just a touch below full ripeness. The seeds are there, too, and add a pleasant crunch. A vein of chalk on the finish wraps it together nicely and reminds you where you are—the glorious tuffeau cliffs on the banks of the mighty Loire.
Grolleau Noir and Gris are pressed directly to produce this rosé’s deep, winey salmon-orange/pink color that is a glory to behold in the glass. The complex nose is studded with cinnamon sticks, cloves, orange peel, and fresh strawberries. Intensely dry and mineral, the structured Les Arceaux is a bottle to pair with a meal rather than to drink as an apéritif. It is a shining example of our long-standing quest to convince you that rosé is another arrow in the quiver of food-pairing possibilities year-round, not just a poolside quaffer!
The only white wine the domaine produces is named after their parcel of Chenin Blanc vines that are all more than one hundred years old, planted on a gently sloping limestone hillside. This little corner of France produces some of the most exciting Chenin Blanc in the world, and this gem is brilliant proof. Golden, honeyed, ambrosial aromas invite you to dive in deeply, and you are greeted by a full-bodied and flamboyant palate with intense raciness and cut on the long, sculpted finish. This is a grand cru from the Loire that leaves no doubt as to why the white-grape trilogy of Chenin, Chardonnay, and Riesling competes in the hearts and minds of wine lovers.
The domaine’s flagship red is made primarily from Grolleau Noir, with some Cabernet Franc, and comes from a parcel of vines overlooking the Loire where Alice used to play as a child behind her parents’ home. The most structured of their reds, Clandestine showcases the more serious side of Grolleau paired with the intensity of Cabernet Franc grown in the clay and limestone belt of noble soils in the central Loire. While we typically see Grolleau made in a more fruit-forward and easy-drinking style, this bottling offers a great opportunity to experience the grape when sourced from very old vines in a top-notch terroir. The juicy, plush fruit is still there, but it is supported by solid tannins, invigorating freshness and energy, and a beautifully etched, chalky finish.
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