Cat Silirie Curates: The Trio Series #5 "Loire Valley Limelight"

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Bin Ends is thrilled to bring you Trio #5 of Cat Silirie Curates: "Loire Valley Limelight"!

The Loire Valley is one of the most viticulturally gifted regions in the world. Its verdant hills are resplendent with vineyards that bring forth expressive, terroir-driven, and unique wines. While most of us appreciate the Loire Valley for its well-known offerings from Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, and Chinon, the region has so much more for wine lovers. Cat has put together this trio for those who are passionate about Loire Valley wines and want to discover treasures that are off-the-beaten-path. With "Loire Valley Limelight", Cat encourages us to take a deep dive into the Loire Valley and savor some of her favorite treasures. Here are the wines!

Domaine Patrice Colin
NV Pineau d’Aunis Methode Ancestrale Sparkling Brut
"Perles Grises"
Coteaux du Vendômois, Loire Valley, France
Pascal Colin is a top producer of some of the most interesting wines of the Coteaux du Vendômois, the most northerly appellation of the Loire Valley. He farms about 25 hectares organically, half of which he owns, with many of the parcels featuring old vines. The Vendômois is a remarkable place known for wines made from the Pineau d’Aunis grape. This nearly extinct varietal is grown primarily on the hills of a small northerly tributary named the Loir, spelled without an e, at the confluence of the greater Loire River.

There are very few producers making sparkling wine from Pineau d’Aunis. The Domaine Patrice Colin produces Pineau d’Aunis bubbles that are considered very expressive of the appellation, with the grape's distinctive aromas of garden berries, warm spices, and most particularly freshly cracked black pepper, and in this delightfully fun sparkling wine one may also sense a delicate and intriguing minerality. These unique bubbles offer an overall effect of being both complex and playful!

The "Perles Grises" is made according to natural ancestral methods, also known as “pétillant naturel” or "Pet-Nat", an ancient technique by which the second fermentation happens in the bottle where the trapped CO2 creates a natural carbonation. Patrice Colin says that "the wine will amaze you with the finesse of its bubbles and the quality of its aromas".

2018 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Chavignol Rosé of Pinot Noir Loire Valley, France
Pascal Cotat makes some of the most distinctive, compelling, and sought-after wines in the entire Sancerre appellation, yet the wines in no way resemble the average commercial Sancerre. This Rosé is considered by its cult following to be as rare as a unicorn, sourced from
the heart of the fascinating terroir known as the Chavignol (a steep slope of Kimmeridgian geological outcropping) from vines over 60 years old. 

The pinot noir grapes intended for this Rosé are macerated briefly for the wonderful persimmon color. This Sancerre Rosé is labeled as a “non-vintage” vin de table (even though it is indeed grown within the Sancerre appellation from 2018), and it was declassified by village authorities because of an unfortunate small-town spat (It is reported that the town officials want to build a parking lot over the vineyard and were refused by Cotat.). So far, the fight continues, yet Cotat’s vines—planted in the 1930s—are safe for now.
Pascal Cotat farms and vinifies very traditionally, and on a very small scale, only 2.5 hectares.  
His wines remain among the longest-lived, and best, of the entire appellation.
Cotat Sancerre is simply singular in the world of wine. Cotat crafts uncanny wines that defy both time and definition. These are wines that can age for decades effortlessly and marry a plush, rich texture with remarkable minerality.

This is a rosé to sip cool, NOT cold! It is a wine for meditation!

2018 Château du Hureau Cabernet Franc
Saumur-Champigny "Tuffe" Loire Valley, France 

Philippe Vatan, working with his daughter Agathe, oversees this domaine of 20 hectares from a fairytale château on the banks of the Loire river. The winery and its cellars are set into remarkable cliffs made of a particular chalk known as tuffeaux. This 100% Cabernet Franc wine is nicknamed by the Vatan family as "Tuffe" (pronounced toof) and is a blend from various vineyard parcels within Saumur-Champigny in the Loire Valley. This delightful "Tuffe" is concentrated in its fruit purity yet is very easy-drinking!

In Saumur this signature tuffeaux, which the natives refer to as “la Tuffe”, is as integral to grape cultivation as it is to the building materials for the Loire Valley's famous Châteaux. In fact, the Chateau Chambord photograph featured in this email is constructed from it. "The Taste of Place" is in the very walls of this place!

Tuffeaux is formed from the remnants of the seafloor, a sediment of fossilized sea creatures and sand that covered the Loire Valley over 90 million years ago. Over the millennia, these particles became compressed to form a unique type of limestone. The Tuffeau in the Loire is due to the presence of foraminifera, sea creatures with multi-chambered shells. This unique terroir manifests beautifully in the appellation's finished wines. 

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