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.