September 16, 2016 2 Comments
Au revoir, rosé—see you next summer. I’m hoping that by adding some heavier wines to my evening tasting line-up that I can conjure some cooler temperatures for central Texas.
But before saying my last goodbye for the summer, I thought I’d take one more stroll through my local wine store and see if I could find any interesting pink wines. I think I told my husband I was searching for something weird (I received the shade eye in return). I did not return home with any weird wine, but I was nevertheless quite happy with my haul: two French rosés, and each of them from an Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP/PGI) aka Vin de Pay region. Score!
The first wine—Petit Bourgeois Rosé of Pinot Noir 2015, Vin de Pays de Val de Loire
The bottle reads Mis en bouteille par Henri Bourgeois – Chavignol. The Henri Bourgeois estate was founded 50 years ago and produces a range of wines in the Upper Loire. Assisted by his sons Rémi and Jean-Marie, Henri grew the estate to a total of 72 hectares of vines, consisting of 120 individual parcels. Many of the estate’s wines are made from these individual vineyards, such as their Sancerre d’Antan and Sancerre Jadis. (For enquiring minds: Chavignol is a small town in Sancerre, famous for a goat cheese known as Crottin de Chavignol as well as its wine.)
The Henri Bourgeois Estate’s Loire Valley wines includes Sancerre (white, red, and rosé versions), two versions of Pouilly-Fumé, Quincy, and Menetou-Salon (red and white). Sharp wine students will recognize these areas as prime Sauvignon Blanc country sprinkled with a bit of Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc (among others). Their line of “Petit bourgeois” wines, labeled under the Vin de Pays de Val de Loire includes a varietally-labeled Cabernet Franc, a varietally-labeled Sauvignon Blanc, and my rosé of Pinot Noir.
The Vin de Pays du Val de Loire region covers roughly the same area as the entirety of the Loire Valley’s AOCs and covers 14 French departments—each of which is considered a subregion of the IGP. It follows the Loire River for over 350 miles from the Atlantic coast to the Auvergne Hills (which are practically in the center of the country). As stands to reason, the Vin du Pays de Val de Loire is one of the largest and most diverse wine regions of France in terms of geographic area.
This wine was a lovely salmon-pink color—a hue I used to call “San Diego sunset” – which you’ll really understand if you’ve ever lived there. I learned from the tech sheet that the juice was fermented on the skin for 48 hours, followed by a slow, cool fermentation at 60°F. The subsequent wine was quite aromatic, and ripe with the scents of rose petals, strawberries, watermelon, cherries, and peaches. It was fermented dry and had a good squirt of cherry-like acidity. All in all, this was a wonderful wine for about $15.00 (and the Wine Enthusiast liked it to the tune of 87 points). We served it up with some grilled shrimp accompanied by roasted red bell peppers, yellow tomatoes and goat cheese—a good match.
The Henri Bourgeois Estate also has some vineyard acreage in New Zealand’s Wairau River Valley (a subregion of Marlborough). The New Zealand property is a result of their search for new areas to “tame” in the pursuit of the world’s finest Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The property, known as the Clos Henri Vineyard, is planted along the Waihopai River as its runs down a hillside into the sea. The latest generation of the Bourgeois family, Arnaud, Jean-Christopher, and Lionel, named the vineyard in honor of their grandfather.
The second wine: La Galope Rosé, Comté Tolosan IGP:
La Galope is a second label created by the Domaine de l’Herre winery, located in the heart of Gascony in Southwest France. The winery also produces a Sauvignon Blanc from the Côtes de Gascogne IGP under the La Galope label, as well as varietal Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Petit Manseng under the winery’s main label. The Domaine de l’Herre winery was founded in 1974 and currently cultivates over 320 acres (130 ha) of vines, mainly on south-facing slopes in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The Comté Tolosan IGP (Vin de Pays de Comté Tolosan) covers a large region of Southwest France—including 12 French departments—in the area commonly referred to as Gascony. This region is part of the Aquitaine Basin that occupies the plains between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. The IGP is bordered by Bordeaux to the northwest, Spain to the south, the Languedoc-Roussillon region to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The Garonne River cuts through the heart of the area, and to an extent separates the white wine-dominant vineyards to the west (nearest the coast) from the red wine-dominant vineyards to the east (further inland).
Several well-known AOCs are included within the catchment of the Comté Tolosan region—including Cahors, Jurançon, Madiran, and Irouléguy —but the IGP designation is typically used for wines grown or produced outside of the boundaries of these more prestigious sections.
Some research on the company website informs me that my rosé is produced from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grapes are harvested in the early morning hours, and rushed to the crush pad where they are pressed with a high-tech inert gas press that crushes the grapes and immediately blankets them with nitrogen in order to avoid oxygen contact (and oxidation.) Following the press, the juice is macerated on the skins for a period of time before being pressed and fermented at about 60°F.
This wine is a nice light pink color. It’s fairly aromatic, with aromas of white flowers (I’m thinking cherry blossoms), strawberries, red peaches and red apples. All of those aromas are mirrored as flavors, accompanied by a nice zing of citrusy acidity. A hint of mineral on the finish is a nice surprise. All in all, an excellent value for $12.00, and a perfect wine for the bbq sliders we pulled from the grill.
Now, if only it would cool down a bit…
Note for all of us wine students: The Val du Loire IGP and the Comté Tolosan IGP are two of the six regional IGPs of France. The other four are the Atlantique IGP (covers Bordeaux, Cognac, and Dordogne), the Comtés Rhodaniens IGP (covers the Northern Rhône and Savoie), the Méditerranée IGP (covers the Southern Rhône and Provence), and the very well-known Pays d’Oc IGP (covers the Languedoc and Roussillon).
References/for further information:
The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… firstname.lastname@example.org