Andrew Guard

2018 Vin de France Rouge 'Pineau d'Aunis', Clos de Tue Boeuf

100% Pineau d'Aunis. Pineau d'Aunis is an historical black grape of the Touraine--in the same family with Menu Pineau and its more sophisticated cousin Pineau de la Loire, aka Chenin Blanc--but is a rare bird even here in its native land. In this case, the Puzelats source tiny quantities of it from their neighbor and vigneronne Valérie Forgues, who organically tends her plot of hundred-year-old vines. Like all of the Tue-Boeuf reds, the wine goes through whole-cluster, open-top, semi-carbonic fermentation in vat; it is then pressed, aged for used Burgundy barrels and bottled unfiltered with minimal sulfur. This Pineau d'Aunis is the quintessential: light, peppery, rustic yet fresh, racy red. The first vintage of this miniscule-production Pineau d'Aunis was 2015; the wine is classified as VDF (the Touraine AOC does not include any of the Pineau family).

Clos de Tue-Bœuf is run by two brothers, Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat, who tend their 10-hectare family estate in Les Montils (in the Cheverny AOC) and rent 6 hectares in a village nearby, in the Touraine AOC. The brothers were luck, their father had always worked Clos du Tue Boeuf with a very limited range of organic products and so the soils are alive; he also had never machine-harvested his vineyards or used industrial yeasts. The resultant wines are vibrant, translucent, and explosively flavourful and in many ways taste like they are home-made in that they have an honesty, truthfulness and wholesomeness in their flavours.