Julien Braud 2016 "Forty Ounce" Red
Gaillac Region, France
10 years ago this wine would not have sold. We've come so far in the last decade, too far in some people's minds, in reducing the white table clothing pomposity associated with wine that we now have a selection of wines called Forty Ounce. While there are certain more formal and ceremonial aspects to wine drinking that I think should be preserved, in general, I've been fully supportive of the effort my generation, referred to by some as millenial, has put into taking the snobby out of wine. The culmination of this cultural phenomenon is Forty Ounce wines, a selection of sustainably-farmed red, white, and rose wines that is the brain child of Patrick Capiello and produced by Julien Braud, a vigneron in France's Loire Valley.
While I have yet to have the rose, I've had the muscadet before, an alluringly fresh and drinkable white that is gluggable by any standard. The 100% gamay red is in a similar vein as the muscadet. It hails from the Gaillac region in south central France, somewhat of an odd choice for gamay given it is generally warmer there than in the Loire Valley, but the freshness and vivacity of the gamay that you want with this grape is still alive and well in this wine. These wines are so fresh they leave you salivating for more. Better yet, they are all around 12% alcohol so you can drink a lot of them.
The red is made from 100% gamay, farmed sustainably, fermented with indigenous yeast in concrete vats, and is lightly filtered. It has an incredibly vibrant, almost electric ruby color reminiscent of cranberry juice. The nose is well-integrated; I could smell this wine all day. On the palate, dry, medium bodied, virtually no tannin, and juicy with notes of bright red fruits. It's not just alcoholic kool-aid though, the wine has a nice earthy complexity and savory note that comes toward the finish. Top-notch juice right here.
Only disappointing thing about this bottle is that you may think you are getting 40 ounces of wine but it's really only a liter (33.8 oz). A clever and hip marketing angle but a disappointing realization. Don't blame the winemakers though, 40 oz. containers of wine are not currently allowed by the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Trade Bureau so there's not much budging room as of now. Anyone up for a lobbying effort?
I think this bottle is a great option for people who enjoy highly drinkable wines that you can consume all day and night. This red would be great slightly chilled on a hot summer day, or conversely, paired with a hearty Thanksgiving meal. Is there better French gamay for the money? Maybe, but they can't be found for much cheaper and they are few and far between. Get it!!