From the valleys of wine. Check out this excellent duo from the Loire and the Ebro
|Azay le Rideau|
Marie Thibault Le Grolleau Vin de France 2019, 13.5%
Grolleau, often regarded as the workhorse vine of the Loire, is seldom used on its own.
However, according to Wine-Searcher.com, if yields are kept low, “Grolleau can produce a
light yet vibrant red wine, with herbaceous,
sour-cherry flavors. Many of these are vinified as natural wines, although this is more to do with modern winemaking trends in the Loire than it is to do with the qualities of the variety itself.”
Le Grolleau comes from Azay le Rideau and this is where Marie Thibault does her stuff. Colour is mid to dark ruby. The rather intense aromas feature cherry and berries. It is light bodied and there’s a clean refreshing acidity on the palate along with much the same fruit flavours and that refreshing theme, along with a little spice, goes right through to the longer than expected finish.
A delicious vin de soif, which essentially means unpretentious wines that are measured not by their complexity, length or ageeability but by the joy and refreshment they provide. Very Highly Recommended.
Marie Thibault grew up in the Loire Valley and began in 2002 working with François Chidaine in Montlouis, falling in love with Chenin Blanc there and making wine under her own name in 2004. She purchased her own estate in 2010 and converted to organics immediately. She has been certified with Ecocert since 2014. She works with Côt (Malbec), Gamay, Grolleau, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon blanc. Most of her vines are at least 50 years old.
Marie also buys some grapes from organic estates close by, which she herself harvests and vinifies in her cellar. Her husband is Frantz Saumon, another fantastic natural grower in the area, his wines also available from Le Caveau and their stockists. Marie’s wines see no additives other than a tiny addition of S02 before bottling, if any is added at all.
Viña Albergada Rioja Alavesa (DOC) 2016, 13%
Made by the same producers of the Albizu Tempranillo that we had a few weeks ago, this Tempranillo has a dark cherry colour, though maybe not quite as vibrant as it was back in 2018 when I enjoyed this same vintage last.
The red fruit aromas are a little less intense than previously. The palate though may be better. It is attractively juicy and fruity, with a touch of spice, very good acidity, quite refreshing. And the finish is good and long.
Highly Recommended. This easy-drinking style of Rioja offers great value-for-money. Great too, they hint, as an aperitif with tapas. Other suggestions include queen scallops and chorizo or pan-fried garlic chicken with sun-dried tomatoes. And, just like the Albizu, it is one of those versatile reds that may be tried chilled.
Tip: Look out for a more up to date vintage than the 2016.