Producer: Like another of our favorite winemakers (François Grinand of “La Vigne du Perron”), Nicolas Reau found his way to the vineyard through the arc of a music career, one sat in front of a piano. Having pursued the life of a Jazz and Blues pianist until the age of 22, Nicolas Reau, one day in 1994, was able to shift the path of his career to his other passion: wine. He fell for the proverbial grape at the ripe old age of eight years old – his grandfather would give him a sip of red wine every now and then unbeknownst to his grandmother! For a long time he was of the belief that he could never have a life as a winemaker due to the twin conundrum of not being from a family of vignernons nor seeing any financial viability down the vineyard road. Well, in 1994 he came across an advert for a professional degree in viticulture and oenology – the rest, as they say, is history. He took over a Domaine in 1998 in the Anjou in the western Loire Valley and, immediately to ensure quality over quantity, reduced the 28hectareage of the estate to five. A telling decision, for even though he didn’t know it he was well on his way to becoming a leading figure in natural wine in the Loire. In 2005, he met who would become his wife, the famous natural wine-writer, winegrower, and organizer of the Loire’s famed La Dive Bouteille natural wine fest, Sylvie Augereau. There is a reason these wines – of Reau and Augereau – are so highly sought after these days: they are pure originals, in every sense of the word.
Vinification: 100% Cab Franc. Grapes are hand-harvested and fermented using wild yeasts, half in oak and half in concrete. Bottled after 6 months of aging on the lees in concrete and oak. Unfined, unfiltered with no added SO2.
Tasting: Dark, ruby red and cloudy in the glass. On the nose: licorice, barbecue smoke and black cherry. The texture starts off pretty and delicate, with dark, underripe berries dominating the palate, but moves into something bigger, more bitter and lush. With a peppery, herbaceous finish and some light tannin, this is a perfect pizza wine.