Not long ago, one of my sales reps brought me a line of wines to try. All were French, which for me was great having blown my palate out with Italian wines recently (don't get me wrong, I love them, but there is a whole world of wine to try). As we went through, we tasted a wine that they said was made of Menu Pineau. I thought I had not understood him correctly, as his French accent is insanely thick. So I enquired again, and sure enough, it was what he said and my ears perked up. The complete wine dork in me got excited with the chance to check off another wine from my century list.
Menu Pineau, also known as Arbois, is one of the most widely planted grapes in the Loire region on France. It is unknown where the grape may have come from, but continues to be one of the most used blending grapes in many of the wines we drink from Loire, especially those of the sparkling variety. However, you might come across some wine makers that are trying to bring back tradition and make a wine that is 100% Menu Pineau.
Now that I have bored you with the facts about this grape (you can tell I get excited when the wine geek in me really comes out), on to the nuts and bolts of this wine itself. The winery, Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf, is owed by two brothers, Thierry and Jean- Marie Puzelat. They got the winery from their father and began to focus on classic Loire wines. This wine is by far one of their coolest (and weirdest at the same time). The first thing I thought about when I tasted this wine was hard cider. It has a huge palate of golden delicious apple, making it taste like a bright hard cider. The bright acidic finish almost makes it dance on your tongue and have that effervescent effect on your tongue, making you think it could be carbonated. It really messes with you at first taste. Then, you realize that it has beautiful subtle white flowers, lily, slate, lemon zest, and so many other flavors that you go insane. This wine is truly a unique and really awesome wine that is one to try. Plus, you get to cross one more wine off your list of ones you have tried that isn't Pinot Noir or Chardonnay....make your friends jealous!!