The Wine: Pineau D'Aunis 2018
Brendan Tracey Pineau D'Aunis is a red natural wine made from 100% Pineau D'Aunis grown organically in the Loire Valley, Central France. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts, bottled, unfined, unfiltered, and with no added sulfites.
The Producer: Brendan Tracey
Inspired by the f$*k-all/do-anything attitude of California punk in the late 1970s, Brendan Tracey, a New Jersey native who’d attended high school in France, moved from San Francisco to Paris where he helped launch a local FM station in 1981. After years of working as a Disc-Jockey, Program Director and finally News Reporter and Presenter, Brendan abandoned his career of 27-years, to study winemaking at the Lycée Viticole in Amboise.
While earning his Baccalauréat Viticulture-Oenologie in 2009, Brendan Tracey apprenticed with Thierry Puzelat, a pioneer of natural, organic winemaking in France; and followed with three months at the “Cave Coopérative des Vignerons de Mont-Prés-Chambord”. Inspired by Thierry Puzelat and Philippe Tessier, Brendan employs natural yeasts and a semi-carbonic maceration on his red wines. Making wines from organically farmed fruit, Brandan sees himself as a humble assistant to nature. “Each year,” he writes, “each variety, terroir, and climatic situation imposes decisions on the way grapes are grown, harvested and fermented.” (source: T. Edward)
(source: The DO Lectures)
The Region: Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is a vast region located in western France. It stretches from the hills of Auvergne all the way to the Atlantic coast, cut in half by the Loire River. With over 4 million hectoliters of wine per year, the Loire Valley is one of France’s biggest and most diverse wine-producing regions. The Lore Valley’s production ranges from every-day quaffable and unpretentious wine to some of the country’s finest whites and reds.
The Terroir of the Loire Valley
Upper Loire sub-region: continental climate, soils are mostly flint and limestone formations. This is the land of Sauvignon Blanc, with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé being the most famous appellations (AOC).
Touraine sub-region: continental climate, soils can be clay with flint or limestone, and chalk. Chenin Blanc is the main grape varietal for white wines, with Sauvignon Blanc coming in second. Red wines are made mostly from Cabernet Franc.
Anjou sub-region: maritime to continental climate, crumbly and soft soil formation called tuffeau. Anjou is well-known for its Chenin Blanc wines, mostly dry although there are good examples of sweet Chenin Blanc in Coteaux du Layon.
Saumur sub-region: continental to maritime climate, soils are made of tuffeau limestone in this similar to Anjou sub-region. Chenin Blanc is vinified as a sparkling wine with the champenoise method, Cabernet Franc is made into light and peppery wines.
Pays Nantais sub-region: maritime climate, the region stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Soils are rocky with granite formations. Muscadet is the main grape varietal of this area, known for wines that are mineral, crisp, and refreshing.
The White Wines of Loire Valley
White wines represent the biggest share with about 65% of the total production. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne, and Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne are the most popular grape varietals in the region.
The Red Wines of Loire Valley
Loire Valley reds are very distinct in terms of their style. Light and lean, lively and fruity, easy-drinking and food-friendly, they are some of the best everyday wines on the market. Some of the best examples of this style are made from Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.