Frantz Saumon, La Cave se Rebiffe, Pet Nat Rosé
Frantz Saumon used to be a forester in both Canada and France for several years. In 2001 he decided to take over a small three-hectare property in Montlouis near Tours. Frantz is a non-interventionist and works without chemicals in the vineyards. The winery is an underground cellar carved into the tuffeau, the ubiquitous fossil-rich clay of the region, and all the wines are vinified in barrels (some 228l, some 400l) only with the indigenous yeasts.
La Cave se Rebiffe is a crisp and refreshing Pétillant Naturel (the second fermentation that occurs spontaneously in the bottle) made of Gamay, and Grolleau from vineyards in Montlouis. A beautiful rosy hue in the glass, the wine is peppery, fruity, and herbal on the nose with notes of raspberry seed, white pepper, and ripe strawberry. On the palate, the wine is clean and balanced with perhaps just a touch of sweetness to balance its ravishing acidity, and delicate, frothy bubbles. Like all of Saumon’s wines, it’s pretty, with lovely balance – more elegant and serious than your average vin de soif.
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Frantz Saumon‘s La Cave Se Rebiffe is a charming pet nat from France’s Loire Valley, a stronghold of the Ancestral Method of making sparkling wine. The nose is like a cherry soda with a wee bit of vinegar. It has a crisp clean, fresh smell and that is also what you get when you taste. It is a dry wine with lots of cherries and a tiny, almost undetectable bit of acetic acid (the same acid that gives vinegar its taste.) NOW, too much of this acid is a bad thing but in this context, and in wines like Lambruscos, this is a good thing. You might even sense sweetness here but I honestly just think that is fruitiness.
This wine also has strong acidity, lurking minerality, and even a little barnyard funk. Do not be frightened. This is pretty mild as funkiness goes. We are not talking Parliament levels of funkiness, more like The Commodores. It is a refreshing, fun, and easy to drink wine. The grapes used are malbec, Gamay, and Groulleau. The last is used for roses and blends in the Loire (an oft-derided but also oft delicious grape). The other two are less grown in the region.