Even if I made an effort, I would probably never finish trying every grape variety in its pure form. So I don’t even try. And yet I am happy every time a new variety can be checked off on the inner list. Today it is Pineau d’Aunis, a variety that is grown on a very small area mainly on the Loire. While the German Wiki is undecided whether it is an independent grape variety or a mutation of Chenin Blanc, the English Wiki states that the grape variety is native and distinct and has no relation to Chenin Blanc. Since I find the deviation between the two Wikis more interesting than the fact itself, I do it like a math professor and leave the proof, in this case at least the consultation of the primary sources, as homework to the interested reader. Because what interests me most of all is how the wine tastes. In addition to the Pineau d’Aunis from 2021, we also try a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from 2020. Both wines come from the winery Les Jardins de Theseiis, which was established by Anouk Lavoie-Lamoureux and Paul-André Risse in Thésée on the Loire. In contrast to Thésée, which dates back to Roman times, the history of the winery is still very fresh. Only in 2018 did the two newcomers take over part of the vineyards and the cellar from Bruno Allion and established their winery. The vineyards have been biodynamically cultivated for many years and still are. Both wines were aged in used wooden barrels and bottled without added sulfur. The fact that they are not filtered or clarified goes without saying.
Actually, I was prepared to be surprised by the red wine, but also the Sauvignon Blanc starts unexpectedly. I would never have guessed Sauvignon Blanc blind and even though I know that there is Sauvignon Blanc in the glass, it still doesn’t smell like it. This is just a mixture of waxy nut and slightly dried flowers. That’s pretty awesome. And when drinking, the wine is super fresh, mineral, clear and clean and equipped with a great structure. The waxy nut becomes more resinous and somehow sweeter in the nose, some coniferous wood, some foliage and at the same time more and more fruit seems to shine through in between. Quinces with forest honey and apple pieces. This is one of those wines that are very hard to put into words. I read what I write down and everything is there, and somehow it still doesn’t hit what’s there. But it’s beautiful. Very much so.
A day later it still doesn’t smell like Sauvignon Blanc, but it feels more like it when drinking. The acidity has somehow become more exotic, passion fruit, pineapple. The last drops in the emptied glass smell like tomato consommé. Wild. The herbaceousness has remained in the wine. I have to check what it costs. Just to make sure it was actually just under 15 euros. Bargain thinks my inner Swabian. This is so complex and at the same time somehow uncomplicated fresh. The whole mouthfeel is just good and I still don’t know which drawer I want to put it in. The way it smells, maybe further south, but then the acidity doesn’t fit. And in the end I think to myself that it doesn’t matter anyway. A real surprise for me and the Pineau d’Aunis is yet to come.
It has the advantage that you sniff the glass much more naturally without expectation when you encounter unknown grape varieties. Because you have no idea what’s coming at you anyway. Here it’s red fruit, fresh wood and a lot of spice. The tannin grazes slightly rustic on the tongue backwards and then gets washed away by a lot of juiciness. The better half says that it’s fruity, but not fruity fruity. And as always she’s right. There comes fruit, then comes barbecue smoke, herbaceousness, and then comes fruit again. But without being really offensively fruity while doing so. It is very fine woven, and I’m very tempted to write elegant, but then I think that this wouldn’t do justice to the rusticity and sit there like with the white wine again in front of my words and read and drink and read and drink. In the end both terms can stay and I actually like it quite a lot like this. Also because it fits for me to the Loire, where otherwise Cabernet Franc often brings this very quiet rusticity along with it. Unlike in the white wine, this wine also always swings along very lightly with a touch of naturalness, but without ever really pushing it into your face.
Overnight herbs and fruit swap places and this herb-fruit exchange suits the wine very well too. Like already with the white wine, I also like this very much. If Pineau d’Aunis should cross my path again and find its way into the glass, I wouldn’t be sad. Les Jardins de Theseiis will definitely find their way into the glass again.