2016 Domaine de L’Ecu, Pinot Noir “Ange” Vin de France, Loire Valley, France.
Fred Niger’s Ecu estate in the heart of the Muscadet region in the cool Loire Valley is now a leader in the Natural Wine world, this wines take this category beyond the hippy movement it so recently was, and his line of Amphora raised stuff is way past the next level, especially this Ange, an organic/biodynamic no oak Pinot Noir that was ultra hand crafted with native yeasts, whole cluster and no sulfur added, with 10 months in the terra-cotta (Amphora) and bottled unfined and unfiltered. This cool climate, low alcohol, is under 12% and velvet like on the full flavored and perfumed palate with pure Pinot Noir class and clarity, there is no stinky funk to get through here, just gorgeous transparent layers of ruby/garnet hued awesomeness with dark cherry, blueberry, spiced cranberry and beautiful wild plum fruits as well as heady rose and lilac flowers, stemmy grippy elements, dried basil/rosemary, red pepper, bramble, subtle clay/stones, cinnamon and candied orange rind, garden mint and kirschwasser. Ecu has been chemical free since 1972 and certified biodynamic by Demeter since 1998, they are a leader in crafting terroir driven Muscadet with their dry Melon de Bourgogne wines each taking up distinct soil taste profiles, while in recent years Niger has been pushing the envelope in natural wine bottlings, many like this one, going for ancient technique with amphora and longer skin contact, which in most cases allows for almost zero sulfur, these wines both from his estate and some in collaboration with friends from vineyards in different regions are simply mind blowing. This Ange, is as it’s name suggests an angelic wine of remarkable inner energy and beauty, quite honestly this wine blows away any Premier Cru Burgundy in it’s price class, with extra air the stemmy goodness starts to get intense with a Cornas like spicy/savory edgy side coming through to balance the sweet incense/rose oil or it’s alluring inner perfume! Wine snobs need not apply, but I hope people get to try this lovely wine, imported by Floraison Selections, this is my third experience with this Ange, and the Ecu estate Cabernet Franc version “Mephisto” and each time has left me even more impressed, mic dropped.
($52 ESt.) 95 Points, grapelive

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