Domaine La Grange aux Belles - La Chaussee Rouge 2019

Domaine La Grange aux Belles - La Chaussee Rouge 2019

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Tasting: Bright cherry, plum, blood orange, delicate tannins

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grolleau

Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are the lynchpin reds of the Anjou region. Cabernet Franc represents about one-third of the total vines in Anjou and is increasingly favored by growers there.
Grolleau typically produces a relatively thin acidic wine, but in the case of this blend adds a lightness to the thick skinned and bold Cabernet varieties.

Region: Loire (Anjou), France

Anjou is a region in the western Loire centered on the town of Angers. The wines of Anjou were some of France's most highly regarded in the Middle Ages. White grapes dominated the region until the 19th century when phylloxera arrived. The region of Anjou has a mild continental climate with some maritime influences due to its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. This influence is tempered by the forests of the Vendée department to the southwest which absorbs the brunt of the rainfall and winds coming in off the Atlantic. Annual rainfall totals for the region usually hover around 19 inches. The vineyard soils close to the Loire River are composed primarily of carboniferous rock and schist.

Within the Anjou wine region are several Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC)s responsible for a broad spectrum of wines including still red, white and rosé produced with varying levels of sweetness. The region produce more variety of different wine styles, from different grape varieties than any other Loire Valley wine region. The production of dry red wines has been steadily increasing since the late 20th century spurred on, in part, by the creation of the Anjou-Villages AOC in 1987 for premium red wine production. Made predominantly from Cabernet Franc, some of the most ideally situated vineyards located south of Angers in the Coteaux de l'Aunbance AOC was given their own distinct sub-appellation in 1998 known as the Anjou-Villages Brissac AOC. The Gamay grape of Beaujolais still has a presence here and its own appellation of Anjou Gamay AOC. Gamay, as well as a variety of other red wine grape varieties, can also be produced under the catch-all appellation Anjou Rouge AOC.

Farming: Practicing biodynamic

Vinification: From a vineyard site named after a battleground in the War of the Vendee, La Chausee Rouge is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grolleau. Grapes are hand harvested and biodynamically farmed. Wine goes through carbonic maceration for 10 days, with juice drawn off daily. They are vinified in tank with low sulfur.

About the Winemaker: La Grange aux Belles is a classic story of a young winemaker, Marc Houtin, finding inspiration in the natural wine movement and searching out some vines of his own. In 2004, Houtin landed 9 hectares in Anjou and began making light, wines with short macerations, organically, with minimal sulfur... everything we want in natural Loire wine. Julien Bresteau now joins Marc in the production.