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2019 Vin de France Rouge Grolleau/Cabernet Franc “Clandestine”

Grange Saint-Sauveur
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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.

Dixon Brooke

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2019
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Grolleau Noir, Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Vin de France
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Grange Saint-Sauveur
Winemaker: Alice Gitton-Pouponneau and Antoine Pouponneau
Vineyard: Planted in early 1980s, .65 ha
Soil: Clay, limestone
Aging: Élevage for 18 months in 1-3 year old demi-muids (400-600 liter) before ageing 12 months in bottle
Farming: Biodynamic (practicing)
Alcohol: 13%

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About The Region

Loire

map of Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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Where the newsletter started

Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

Read the whole story

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