Andrew Guard

2019 IGP Val de Loire Blanc 'Étreinte', Domaine Andrée

This is a brand-new white wine from Stephane, and from the rare Grolleau Gris. Historically this grape was destined for the passable but underwhelming Rose d'Anjou, often bottled with residual sugar. As with producers like Maxime Magnon in the Languedoc, who has turned the rustic Carignan into a thing of real beauty, so has Stephane here with Grolleau Gris. 
A beautiful shimmering brightness in the glass. On the nose, it reveals hints of grapefruits and passionfruit and an attractive, subtle mineral undertone. On the palate, it is fine, fresh and refreshing, with a lively acidity that balances all. Gorgeous and precise as always from Stephane!

Over the past decade Anjou and its chenin blanc-based whites have gained a solid reputation for their remarkable depth, particularly among white Burgundy lovers seeking an affordable alternative. The reds, made from Cabernet Franc and/or Grolleau, have long been popular as a sort of alternative to Bourgueil and Chinon.

I was introduced to Stéphane Erissé a few years ago by Antoine Foucault of the Domaine du Collier. Stéphane came to winemaking late in life, he first worked in the building industry before embarking on the profession of vigneron in 2011. Since that time he's ben working with the Foucault's and also from Cyril Fhal of Roussillon's  Clos du Rouge Gorge - for work in the vines and the cellar, one could not have two better teachers!

He named his estate, which is located in the Anjou, after his grandmother Andrée.