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2021 Vouvray “Pierres Rousses”

Catherine & Pierre Breton
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Based in Restigné, in the heart of the Bourgueil AOC, Catherine and Pierre Breton always dabbled in Vouvray, since Catherine's family is based within the Chenin Blanc appellation about an hour’s drive upriver. Now the next generation of Bretons has come of age, and while daughter France holds down the fort in Cabernet Franc country, her brother Paul has chosen to focus entirely on white wines. He even set up his own little cellar in Vouvray, and has taken on new vineyards to increase the family's production of blanc.
     Pierres Rousses is a new bottling he launched from a parcel of old vines on flinty soil. He ages it in used barrels, giving it a much different character than the “Dilettante” Vouvray bottling the family has long produced. Paul’s wine is deep and textural, with serious presence on the palate and a dry, flinty finish—decidedly old-school Vouvray from a budding young talent!

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2021
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Chenin Blanc
Appellation: Vouvray
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Catherine & Pierre Breton
Winemaker: Catherine & Pierre Breton
Vineyard: 55 years old
Soil: Clay, Flint
Farming: Biodynamic (certified)
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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