02 May 2011

raining grolleau: balt, 75002

Nothing brightens a hassle-strewn rainy Monday afternoon like visiting your favorite nearby sandwich bar (Balt) and receiving, as a random gift from the excellent oenophile owner, a bottle of marvelous purple Grolleau (Le Vin de Jardin 2010) by good natural Anjou vignerons (Marc Houtin and Julien Bresteau of La Grange Aux Belles). 

The only problem is, back at the office you are faced with one of those angel-&-devil-on-either-shoulder choices, with regards to what to drink with your sandwich. 

Balthazar de la Borde** explained that he'd been given the bottle by his friend from 18ème restaurant (and nearby cave) Miroir. I'm not sure why the bottle was changing hands so often: it's fairly superb, as Grolleau's go. 

How do Grolleau's go, typically? My quick take is this: a profusive, plush, high-toned grape, incongrously dark, high acid, often used for rosés, chiefly Rosé d'Anjou. When vinified red I find they often read like skinny Barberas, just as fruity and flirtatious, but with none of the flesh or bottom end. The sort of Barberas you meet outside of shitty rock clubs smoking those needley cigarettes with flowers on the label.

Nevertheless my love for loser-grapes impels me to try any samples that come my way. Even if the sample arrives during my lunchbreak.

Le Vin de Jardin 2010 appears to be 100% Grolleau, whereas I gather that previous years' bottlings have included proportions of Gamay. To be honest, in a blind test I'd nevertheless be in danger of calling this Gamay, were it not for the darker color and slight opacity of the wine itself. This is not a bad thing at all, however. For a Grolleau billed as "garden wine" it's fairly lithe and pure-fruited, a delicately tannic bundle of fresh blueberries and Sour-Patch Kids.

A nice surprise, anyway. Merci, Balt!

* wins award for coolest name? He sounds like a villain in a fantasy novel. 'Retreat! Balthazar de la Borde and his hordes have sacked our fort!' etc. 


An excitably written tasting with Marc Houtin and Julien Brestau @ VinSurVin
A tasting of La Grange Aux Belles wines @ VinsNature
Some brief mentions of La Grange Aux Belles @ LeBlogd'Olif

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