Pineau d’Aunis, the forgotten grape
You know how you always associate spicy wines with Syrah & the Rhône Valley…? I know I do. Well, brace yourselves, here comes another grape variety that could make you sniff twice before announcing a wine’s main grape at a blind tasting: LE PINEAU D’AUNIS.
Also called Chenin Noir it is only grown in the Loire Valley and was very popular in the 13th & 15th centuries before slowly but surely being replaced by the popular Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon & Gamay varities. In 1997 though, a ‘Conservatoire du Pineau d’Aunis‘ was created & 20 hectares of the grape planted in the region of Vendomois. And it’s a good thing; here’s why:
Firstly, I hold dear things that are forgotten, vintage, left out… I have once bought a bag full of discarded family pictures from the 70’s on a flea market, just to keep the memories alive a little longer… Anyway, knowing that this grape could have disappeared -if not for a dedicated bunch of wine makers & Alliance Loire – makes me want to make an effort to appreciate its uniqueness.
Then, the Pineau d’Aunis makes easy-drinking & enjoyable wines. Light reds with red fruits & spices and crisp rosés with citrus aromas and again, the distinctive spices. Nicolas Emereau, Alliance Loire‘s ‘flying wine maker’, distinguished 4 different types of peppers that can be found in the Pineau d’Aunis various expressions!
Finally, I like the ambiguity of the grape’s name. It’s not pinOT like the famous & elegant Burgundian but pinEAU. And I’m rather hoping someone will purchase it by mistake and be pleasantly surprised!