The wine team has been on quite the Italian kick lately, but Jon Bonné’s recent article in the Chronicle reminded us of our undying devotion to all things Loire. We’ve long championed the eclectic wines of the Loire Valley from Menetou-Salon to Muscadet, but the reds of the Loire hold a special place in our collective hearts. The Loire has some unusual and unexpected red grape varietals in additional to the ubiquitous Cabernet Franc, so instead of a Bourguiel or Chinon, we’re featuring a Côt (Malbec) and a Pineau d’Aunis and Gamay blend.
In 2005, young winemaker Xavier Weisskopf purchased a group of very old vineyards in the commune of Montlouis. Most of the vines dated from before WW II, but portions of the Côt vines he bought were planted in 1891! This Vieilles Vignes (old vines) bottling is a viticultural treasure and demonstrates a unique expression of Malbec that may surprise those used to Cahors or Argentinian versions. There’s a massive, chewy backbone to this wine, but it’s supported by ample dark fruit, coffee notes, and good acidity. This is a wine to lay down or drink with something rich and meaty, like our very own grass-fed beef short ribs!
Olivier Lemasson started his journey in wine as a retailer before becoming a winemaker, and now a winegrower in Touraine. His unusual blend of the indigenous grape Pineau d’Aunis and Gamay Noir has a dedicated cult following among the staff at Bi-Rite and we’re hoping we can recruit you! With intense aromas of incense and orange liqueur followed by a light bodied palate with cranberry and earthy flavors, this is a memorable wine that demands your attention.