2012 Domaine de la Pepiere 'Cuvee Granit'

2012 Domaine de la Pepiere 'Cuvee Granit'
Cab Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon
Loire Valley, France

Found this intriguing bottle at Reno in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood for a cool $34. A blend of Bordeaux varietals from the Loire Valley? Yes, please, an exploration was in order. Coming in at only 12% alcohol, this is decidedly a cool climate red blend. I was not familiar with the producer beforehand but the bottle is imported by Dressner Selections, a near-guarantee that the juice in the bottle is going to be interesting stuff. Domaine de la Pepiere focuses on a variety of muscadet bottlings but the ‘Cuvee Granit’ is a blend of predominantly cabernet franc with the balance being cot (malbec), merlot, and cabernet sauvignon sourced from a small 4-hectare vineyard dedicated to red varietals.

I think a lot of people will find this a bit too lean for their tastes, but I found it perfect on a warm summer evening. It was incredibly bright and focused, both on the nose and the palate, and paired nicely with a few simple wood-fired pizzas. Fresh notes of red fruit (raspberry, red currants, and cranberry?) carried through to a medium length finish. Lots of minerality with a touch of smokiness and a hint of bell pepper. This comes from a certified organic estate.

You should be able to find this for $15 or less at retail shops. Similar to Domaine Landron, Wine Terroirs has a great inside look at Domaine de la Pepiere.