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If you ever needed two superheroes to help tackle the evil villain of thirst, then Catherine and Pierre Breton would be prime candidates. Sure, they drive a tractor instead of a Batmobile, and their weapon of choice is no fancy gadget—just a crusty old corkscrew. And yet, there is no greater force to combat a parched palate than these two upbeat vignerons. With the warm months arriving, I am thrilled to announce that the latest vintage of the dynamic duo’s most thirst-quenching cuvées are now available. Their “Avis de Vin Fort” is a wine whose arrival I eagerly await each year, and by the time I finally pull the cork, I am salivating like a dog before that explosive first splash of juicy Cabernet Franc even hits my lips. A “rosé the color of a red,” in their words, it is made via a saignée of Cabernet Franc that spends just a few days on its skins. Alive with flowery aromas, bright, crunchy fruit, and a refreshing pepperiness, this is a wine to drink any time of day by way of large, lip-smacking gulps. Don’t put away your ice bucket just yet: you’ll also want to send the Bretons’ Grolleau for a dip before indulging. From a sixty-year-old parcel of this rare Loire variety, they use carbonic maceration to create a red that delivers loads of dusty fresh red berry fruit underscored by a subtle, earthy funk—all at a dangerously low 10.5% alcohol. Thanks to these new arrivals from Catherine and Pierre, barbecues, picnics, apéritifs, brunches, pregames, post-games, baby showers, regular showers, bubble baths, tailgates, and happy hours are all taken care of. Yet again, the heroes of soif have saved us from going thirsty.
4-Pack Sampler: 2018 Bourgueil Clairet “Avis de Vin Fort” • C. & P. Breton $28.00 2018 Val de Loire Grolleau • C. & P. Breton $28.00 2 bottles of each
Thanks to these new arrivals from Catherine and Pierre, barbecues, picnics, apéritifs, brunches, pregames, post-games, baby showers, regular showers, bubble baths, tailgates, and happy hours are all taken care of.
Catherine and Pierre Breton are real life bon vivants vignerons of lore. They are passionate about what they do, enjoy sharing it with others, and entertain with a generosity and charm. That they make great wine with such integrity makes our appreciation of them complete. The Bretons farm 11 hectares just east of Bourgueil in the village of Restigné. They produce Chinon, Bourgueil, and a bit of Vouvray, creating honest wines for both early consumption and aging. The Bretons received organic certification in 1991 and recently began the three-year process of seeking biodynamic certification. They’ve become international icons for the natural wine movement in an area where the climate and soil can make organic viticulture difficult.
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.
A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!
Inspiring Thirst, page 117
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