Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Not a Rosé, At First Blush

I have decided that 2011 is going to be a great year. And to get the year kicked off, I'm going to fete this exuberant little number that I admittedly drank a few months ago but which would have been great over the last weekend. It's a wine that seemingly shouldn't be what it is, and is definitely what it says it is not.

"Ceci n'est pas un rosé," says the Anjou producer Domaine des Sablonnettes, who are really a couple named Christine and Joël Ménard. And you'd believe them at first blush, so to speak. Look at it: this cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon blend couldn't possibly be rosé? Ah, but it is, and not surprisingly it's a Vin de Table, not one approved by the appellation authorities.

If "vibrant" is a Loire hallmark, this wine was so vibrant that it seemed to possess a life and an imagination of its own. It had a snoot of earth and rhubarb and garden herbs and crazy dry rocks. The firm, tart, joyful palate made me think of a raspberry-strewn rock garden; and then it turned so long and airy on the finish. I was really taken with this.

I cannot find much information about this wine, save that the Ménards grow the grapes biodynamically, never inoculate or chaptalize, that sort of thing. Had I known of the Ménards last June I would have dropped by when I passed through Rablay sur Layon, the better to understand them and their not-rosé. An opportunity lost.

No, stop! This is not a wine for brooding upon regrets! It is for celebrating, and I in turn will simply celebrate it. Cheers to us all!

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