Louis de Grenelle Saumur Rosé
Wine: Louis de Grenelle
Region: Saumur, Loire Valley
Grapes: Cabernet Franc
I first tasted this wine at The Carriage Wine and Market, with whom I collaborate on my monthly Vine Club, a little while back. They were pouring it by the glass at their bar adjacent to the retail space, and I LOVED it. So did everyone else. It seemed every time I went in there, the bar was lined with sparkling pink flutes. Several weeks ago - maybe more than two months ago - it went out of stock. In the meantime, they've been pouring another pink bubbly, also popular, but when I ordered a glass one day I was deeply disappointed. It had a sweetness to it that I hated. It was as though I'd only dreamed of the Louis de Grenelle. I had to re-think my whole position on the situation. When it came back in stock, Jason kindly helped me put two brain cells together and I realized it wasn't a dream at all. This delicious treasure of a wine is real. Very real.
It's imported by the excellent palate, Jon-David Headrick, from the Loire Valley region of Saumur, which is known for it's chenin blanc still and dry whites and cabernet franc still reds and rosé sparklers, and apparently a favorite region of mine. I borrowed this description from Monsieur Headrick's beautifully written tech sheet:
"Deep under the streets of the Loire Valley town of Saumur, miles and miles of chalk caves meander. Carved centuries ago, many were dug with prison labor under the direction of the king of France. There are so many 'streets' underground that they actually outnumber the streets above ground in this beautiful French city.
"Two and a half kilometers of underground caves belong to the cave of Louis de Grenelle, the last remaining family-owned property of the major Saumur sparkling producers. All of the bottles produced by the cave are stocked here, under this bustling market city, and left to age quietly for several years. Louis de Grenelle has been producing wines in this location since 1859."
The wine is made in the traditional Champenoise method, with very little dosage and with purpose, as opposed to a run-off production of slightly sweet and heady excess wine sold for non-discriminating consumption. The Grenelle family practices hand harvesting and keeps their yields low.
Louis de Grenelle Saumur Rosé NV is dry, perfumed yet mineral, with a long satisfying finish and a subtle bit of white pepper, a titillating spark. It's the kind of wine that has you going back for the next sip before you've swallowed the first. It holds a very special place on my list of Highly Acceptable wines. And for a mere $18 a bottle at The Carriage, it's a practical gold find right in my own backyard. Double Huzzah!