The Wine: Pineau d'Aunis 2020
Les Athletes du Vin Pineau d'Aunis is a red natural wine made from 100% Pineau d'Aunis grapes farmed organically in the Loire Valley, France. Maceration for 2 weeks in stainless steel. Medium body red wine, red fruit and bell pepper on the nose; pair with charcuterie, serve chilled!
The Producer: Les Athletes du Vin
Les Athlètes du Vin is a négociant project focused on typical, value-driven wines from the Loire Valley. The idea was conceived by a group of French winemakers called Vini Be Good, who work together to distribute their wines across France. The wines are vinified by various members of the Vini Be Good network using their own grapes or grapes purchased from friends and neighbors in the Loire. We are proud to present these wines made by their friends and family, as several of the cuvées are vinified by Gérard Vallée, brother of Mathieu Vallée from Château Yvonne.
The labels for Les Athlètes du Vin are drawings by French artist, illustrator, and cartoonist Michel Tolmer, who has been the unofficial lead artist of the French natural wine movement since the 1990s. (source: Paris Wine Company)
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.