Cuvee Rouge Aux Levres 2019

Toby Bainbridge

$26

Julie and Toby Bainbridge live in the village of Chavagnes les Eaux which is a short drive south from the city of Angers and have been making wines from around 4.5 hectares of vines that he owns around that village. Their wines have certainly made people sit up and take notice.

This wine is made from the red Grolleau Noir (aka Groslot Noir) grape that is only found at this end of the Loire Valley and rarely seen as a single varietal. The very old vines thrive in red clay and schist soils.

The grapes underwent three weeks of whole bunch semi-carbonic maceration (the juice is not drained so both carbonic and alcoholic fermentation occur).

Toby does not like to add carbon dioxide so uses a double lidded system in the tank to trap the ambient gas. The wine shows very fresh berry aromas and flavours, soft tannins and lots of juicy goodness. It tastes very fresh. The wine has a little carbon dioxide in it as a preservative so you might detect a bit of ‘fizz’ at the beginning when the glass is first poured.

The vines are very old (at least 85 years and some possibly over 100 years old) giving rise to a beautifully structured wine which exhibits considerable charm.

Soils and berries and sticks - oh yeah! A walk in the woods to pick wild berries with this one - juicy, funky, slight effervescence.