I should start this post by explaining that my wine collection is not vast. As you would expect if you have even the slightest idea of who I am and what I do, the provenance of these wines is mainly French and Italian. Curiously, as a whole, it is weighted more towards red wines than to whites or sparkling. I have about 30 bottles laid out on a wine rack and the others are still in their boxes. Despite all my best attempts to catalogue the bottles, every so often, I find something unexpected.
Gallo’s 2006 Merlot is one of them. Thierry Puzelat’s 2009 La Guerrerie is another.
Clos du Tue-Boeuf (Touraine AOC, Loire) La Guerrerie 2009 66% Côt, 33% Gamay (12.5%)
If you are in any way familiar with the natural wine scene, Thierry Puzelat should need no introduction.
However, you may be unfamiliar with the grape variety Côt; it is essentially another name for Malbec. In France, Malbec is most notably found in the Cahors region in the south-west, where it can go by the name “Auxerrois,” and in Bordeaux where it is minor variety, predominantly used for blending. It has also made a name for itself in Argentina where it seems perfectly at home at high-altitudes of Mendoza.
Anyway, to get back to the point of this post, we need to look more closely at the Loire Valley.
Whilst Côt has a couple of more famous neighbours, it has its own, distinctly original form of expression.
Unlike Cabernet Franc, it does not have the black pepper, green capiscum and cassis aromatics that you find in Chinon and Bourgueil.
Unlike Grolleau, it’s a heavyweight wine, which is sturdy and sure of itself.
It’s obviously not Pinot Noir (that you find in Sancerre and a little further in Burgundy.)
It is instead spicy and warming. It has a heavily tinted, deep, mulberry colour and a very pleasing aromatic profile.
Upon first opening, the initial impression is the unmistakable sign of its vinification in wooden barrels. However, for a 2009, it still smells remarkably youthful. There is no sign of oxidation.
Now almost 8 years old, this wine is at its peak. It harmoniously blends fruit (ripe red fruit – think raspberries, sloe berries and redcurrant jelly) with spice (hearty, cajun spice. Incidentally, it made a wonderful accompaniment to our BBQ-ed jerk chicken.) There’s still enough acidity to keep it lively and enough mellow tannins to be pleasing on the palate. A great find!
Tasted: 23rd August 2017
Clos de Tue-Boeuf website