Domaine de Montrieux, Phylactère, 2020
Côteaux de Vendômois
What a fun story this is. So, Ariane Lesné discovers her love for wine in the 1990s during her postgraduate degree studying management and marketing for wines and spirits. She hops around a couple of fun postings working with a chain of Parisian wine stores (hello life goals from 2009!) before eventually heading to frickin' Burgundy to work her first of six harvests at the exceptional Domaine de L'Arlot in Nuits St. Georges. In the 2000s she makes the move to the UK to work for an English wine merchant in fine wine speculation (booming biz back then but there's dotcom bubble vibes) before coming back to Paris to setup her own wine merchant trade. Like a boss ass b!%@# she says forget that noise and decides she wants her own winery. She hears through the grapevine (I know, sorry...) that this wicked estate in the Côteaux de Vendômois is up for sale by the owner and decides to take her shot without a second thought (kinda like Aaron Burr, sir). A 6-month crash course by outgoing proprietor Emile Heredia - a distant cousin of the famed Lopez de Heredias in Rioja - and she's off to the races fashioning this shindig into an image she's spent years dreaming about.
Today, the vineyards are some of the most beautiful, and healthiest, in the region with a focus on natural, low-intervention winemaking in addition to biodynamic and organic vineyard practices. There's essentially two labels at Domaine de Montrieux with the estate fruit used to produce a sensational lineup of Loire-native single varietal bottlings and a couple of blends. She also sources fruit from friends around the region to make fun, entry level bangers of insanely high quality.
Phylactère is 100% Gamay teinturiers from Ariane's estate fruit. This is direct-pressed and this Gamay clone produces red coloured flesh (unlike more traditional varietals which have clearer coloured flesh but get red color from contact with the skins of the grape). The red juices that come out during pressing result in a stunning colour in bottle. A classic PetNat with ebullient effervescence and fruitiness. Such a fun sipper for any day of the week!
Food pairings: all kinds of Asian foods like spicy Thai, Vietnamese banh mi, classic yakitori or fried rice from your favourite Chinese takeout, to give a few examples. Or go with a salad of fresh beets, crunchy roasted pecans and a light strawberry vinaigrette over wild arugula.