Producer Profile: From their importer’s (Steven Graf Imports, Fifi Selections) site, the story of Julie and Toby Bainbridge is a love affair fit for the land of castles, churches, and natural parks that makes up the Loire Valley where they now live, in a town of ~120 in the Anjou. “Toby’s an ex-pat from the UK, and Julie found him working on her parent’s farm in Arkansas. After a long courtship, they settled in Anjou with two young children.” You may remember their cuvée, “Highway .8” from wine share a few months back; its name derives from the beginning of their relationship stateside, referring to a favorite strip of road near the family farm in Arkansas where Julie and Toby first met. The kind of beauty and warmth tied up in this story – its sense of foreordained-ness and narrative pleasure – are genuinely reflected in the bottles the couple craft from their nearly four hectares of old (up to 85-100 years) vines of Grolleau, red Grolleau Noir, Groslot, Chenin Blanc, and Cab Franc. This lends the wines a decidedly gastronomic and elegant feel – echoed in the fact of their first ever customer abroad, none other than Rene Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma, who bought up everything the couple brought to Denmark on their first, fated sales trip. Despite being served in one of the world’s finest restaurants, make no mistake, these are hand-made, fully natural wines to the utter extent of that word’s definition – they just also happen to go as well with a dollar slice as a 20-course tasting excursion astride a Danish wharf.
Vinification: 50% Cab Franc and 50% Grolleau from 85 year old vines grown on Black Schist soil. Grapes undergo carbonic maceration in stainless steel using wild yeasts. Bottlef unfined, unfiltered with a touch of SO2. Also bottled with a bit of leftover CO2 to further protect the wine (you may hear a slight spritz upon opening!).
Tasting: A zippy, fresh Cab Franc/Grolleau blend. Medium bodied with ample blue fruits on the palate, finishing with a grippy, peppery edge. This is a powerful, gluggable, refreshing red to serve chilled.