The evening before our visits with newly-installed Anjou vigneron Cédric Garreau and the rest of the Angevin clan back in January, my friends J, M, and I found ourselves at Angers natural wine bar Le Cercle Rouge, sharing a nightcap with some US importers with whom J and M were discussing working. It was during the time of La Dive Bouteille, La Renaissance des Appellations, and the various satellite tastings, and we'd assumed we'd run into a few vignerons and fellow industry folk at La Cercle Rouge that night. But we'd evidently missed a memo, because the place was quiet as the grave. If I concentrated, I imagined I could actually hear echoes from the wild bacchanal in the surrounding hills where all the vignerons and the more clued-in buyers were probably spraying each other with pétillant naturel and doing impressions of Americans.
If we nevertheless stayed at Le Cercle Rouge for the duration of two bottles, it was because the wine we were drinking - Cédric Garreau's 2011 "Le Lulu Berlue" - achieved the almost impossible : it was marvelously palatable to five weary palates that had endured a sequence of professional tastings earlier in the day. (Ordinarily such circumstances are the only moments in life where one craves Kronenberg.)
The "Lulu Berlue" is an odd duck, a sparkling carbonic-maceration Cabernet Sauvignon, mouth-rinsing, pure, and black-fruited, sort of like fine Loire Lambrusco. It hit the spot. The next day when we visited Garreau's tiny shed of a cellar in Chanzeaux we were able to confirm that all his red wines - all three - share the same soulful purity of fruit that made the "Le Lulu Berlue" so entrancing. They're wines that feel fundamentally healthful, and they herald a new voice in Angevin winemaking, one whose maturity of expression is surprising given its only Garreau's second vintage.