François Pinon Touraine Brut Rosé 2016
Winegrower: François Pinon
Region: Touraine, France
Grape: Grolleau, Malbec (Côt)
With Thanksgiving almost behind us we look forward to the Christmas and New Year’s holiday festivities, and this means planning get-togethers with family and friends. What better time to also consider what we’ll drink with what we’ll eat! This festive season also begs us to consider sparkling wines. Many people believe that the only true celebratory wine is Champagne, and while that region produces some of the finest bubbles in the world, it certainly has no monopoly on the pleasures of that drink, and when it comes to value, it usually lags behind equally great wines from other regions, especially at the entry level. It is important to remember that Champagne is first and foremost a commercial brand that has been developed and marketed for many decades. That is why, no matter what level of quality you buy, it commands a high price. There are many wines made in the ‘Champagne Method’ that are as good if not better than most entry level Champagnes, and today’s offer is one of these. François Pinon’s Touraine Brut Rosé will best most pink champagnes costing two to three times as much or more. It delivers a rich texture, great fruit, delicate minerality and that thirst quenching magic exemplary of the good Champagne. It is produced in small quantities and is a true artisan wine comparable to a grower Champagne. A product of painstaking organic farming and a winemaking pedigree dating back to 1786, grapes are handpicked and vinified with wild yeasts using the Méthod Champenoise. All cellar work is by hand and it is always produced from a single vintage even though this is not stated on the bottle. This wine offers extraordinary value at $28, but our allotment is small so act now to avoid disappointment.
It's no secret that we’re big fans of the Loire Valley and Francois’ wines in particular. The Loire is one of the most progressive wine regions in the world in regards to organic and biodynamic farming, and François is part of a generation of winemakers who’ve developed an ardent following in Europe, America and Japan. His 15 hectares of vineyards are located just northeast of Tours and are worked totally by hand. François’ natural, ‘old school’ approach extends to his cellars where only wild yeasts are used for fermentation and the wines see little or no filtration or added sulphur. François believes it is impossible to taste terroir if you use commercial yeasts and thinks the high acidity of his wines acts as a natural preservative and I agree. During my visit I tasted vintages of his family’s wines dating back to 1960 that were incredibly fresh, elegant and delicious.
François vinifies the grapes from each vineyard separately, and this translates terroir brilliantly. In the case of this rosé, the grapes bleed (Saignée method) at cooler temperatures to create a lively style. The wines are aged on their lees in the bottle.
Today’s 2016 Francois Pinon Touraine Brut Rosé is a delicious blend of Grolleau and Malbec from vines planted by François' grandfather. It’s a pale orange/pink colour and has beautiful, bright strawberry, cherry, red currant and peach aromas. The red fruits carry over to the palate and are balanced by fine citrus and mineral flavours, all of which carry over to a refreshing finish. This is a beautiful and crowd-pleasing rosé that's wonderful now and will drink beautifully for years to come. Enjoy as an aperitif or at the table. To best capture the aromas of this outstanding sparkler I suggest that you serve it at 10˚ in a white wine glass. Santé!