What is Pineau D’Aunis?
Wine Grapes by Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz pretty much sums it up when the entry for Pineau D’Aunis reads: “Ancient, light and underrated Loire variety, often used for rosé but capable of interesting reds” (pg804). Pineau D’Aunis is a dark skinned ancient varietal that is basically exclusively grown in France in the Loire Valley. If you’ve encountered this grape before, more than likely you tasted it as a rosé or as a component of a sparkling wine. Pineau D’Aunis can be a tough grape to cultivate, it’s susceptible to sunburn, irregular yields, chlorosis and, due to the grapes small berry size, it can also suffer from botrytis; however, when it is cultivated well, as is the case with Domaine Le Briseau’s Patapon, the enchanting unique qualities of the grape are on center stage.
Who is Domaine Le Briseau?
Domaine Le Briseau, the maker of the enormously delicious “Patapon” and a pillar of natural winemaking in the Loire, was once run by wife and husband Natalie Gaubicher and Christian Chaussard. Le Briseau translates to “the shatterer” which reflects the solid layer of subsoil flint present in their vineyards which is extremely difficult to penetrate/shatter. In 2012 Christian Chaussard had a fatal tractor accident working the vineyard he loved so much. To complete the 2012 vintage, neighbors from all around the community banned together to help Natalie in completing harvest and production. Today Domaine Le Briseau still farms to organic standards and with biodynamic principles. They produce incredible wines using Pineau D’Aunis, Gamay, Chenin Blanc and Côt grown on limestone, flint, and in places, clay soils.
So how about this Patapon?
Patapon is easily one of the most interesting and dynamic wines I have ever tasted. It is an eye-catching medium ruby red that excites the palate with an incredible peppery quality. Bright fresh red fruits swirl around your tongue as you sip this wine and you’re left with a perfect gentle structure of soft tannin. Patapon goes everywhere, does everything. It’s texture and vibrant flavors excite and marvel in the mouth. Patapon is a wine that is so easy to love, that can’t be forgotten, and has a history that must be remembered.
Robinson, Jancis, et al. Wine Grapes: a Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours. HarperCollins Publishers, 2012.
Dressner, Jules. “Domaine Le Briseau & Nana, Vins Et Cie. in Jasnières/Coteaux Du Loir.” Louisdressner.com, 2013, louisdressner.com/producers/Chaussard/.