Grolleau? Yep Grolleau is the grape variety on this one. Jancis Robinson, in her tome, Wine Grapes, describes Grolleau as the “widely planted though little recognized dark-skinned Loire variety that makes a lot of rosé and some supple reds.” Supple, rich, fresh red wine is exactly what we have here in the 2013 Les Essards Noirs Grolleau from our three good friends Julien, Thibaut and Jean-Marie at Les Roches Seches in the heart of Anjou. Grolleau is the third most planted red grape in the Loire behind Cabernet Franc and Gamay, and it deserves more love, especially at an under $19 price in a 12-bottle buy. This wine is fermented with the stems resulting in a level of acidity and fine tannin lift that beautifully balance the supple, medium-bodied, red fruited aspects of this cool, quality wine. These vines grow on a combination soil of clay and limestone that imparts a rich mineral note to the wine. Fermented using indigenous yeast, aged 10 months in used oak barrel, bottled unfiltered and without the addition of sulfur. A very natural approach. And if you’re looking for something that won’t club you like a baby seal if you have a few glasses, this is the pick at a skosh under 11% alcohol. Only 800 bottles made. When I asked both Julien (in March) and Thibaut (in July) to give me their thoughts on ageability, without knowledge of the others answer, they both felt that this wine had 10 years in bottle. I agree!
NOTE: Les Roches Seches also made a 2013 Les Essards Grolleau (without the word “Noir” in the name). It was made in a fruitier, semi-carbonic fashion. THIS IS NOT THAT WINE.
Direct import of Balanced Wine Selections.
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