2018 Domaine de l’Austral, Jolie Brise, Saumur Spakling Rosé, Loire Valley, France.
A near perfect celebration of Spring and Summer is Domaine de l’Austral Jolie Brise Sparkling Rosé made from Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc from their organic vines in Saumur with absolutely zero residual sugar and tart freshness it is pure refreshment in the glass with bright cranberry, apple skin, cherry, red peach and a touch of orange(y) citrus zest. A hint of herb, subtle toastiness and crushed chalk add to the profile with a streak of mineral make this disgorged Méthode Ancestrale sparkler clear and delightful and its vivid magenta hue shines happily in the glass. This fun bubbly adds a dance out loud playfulness to the seriousness of Domaine de l’Austral lineup of terroir driven Saumur Rouge, which are more cooly chiseled wines that are painstakingly hand crafted from unique micro climate parcels. You can see the attention to detail in the clarity and refinement of the mouse, plus the Champagne cork finish, but really this is a joyous quaffable Loire grower fizz that is all about simplistic pleasures. Imported by Floraison Selections in Emeryville California, Domaine de l’Austral joins an elite and expressive Loire and natural lineup in their portfolio that includes Loire stars like Domaine de la L’Ecu, Domaine Serol and La Porte Saint Jean/ Sylvain Dittière, as well as Rhone Legend Domaine Gonon in Saint-Joseph.

Domaine de l’Austral, which debuted with this vintage 2016 when Pauline Mourrain and Laurent Traubat took over this estate in Saumur, what was formerly known as Château Tour Grise​, when the previous owners, Philippe and Françoise Gourdon decided to retire, but only doing so after making sure the property was in good hands. As mentioned in my last review of this new Saumur label, the site was originally founded in 1990 and Certified Organic in 1998, with Pauline and Laurent taking to the next level it seems with their debut collection of wines, that have already been awarded praise and accolades by their peers and the press. Working from the domaine’s historic underground troglodyte cellar, caved from the natural limestone, Laurent and Pauline honor the property’s traditions and use very natural techniques in making their wines. The fermentation is always with native yeasts, with some whole cluster being used and bottling is done with the absolute minimum amount of sulphur and they employ long macerations with aging done in a combination of vessels from stainless to used French oak cask as well as some elevage in concrete egg. This is an exciting new winery to discover and follow from the Loire Valley, so far I’ve been greatly impressed and I adore this delicious Jolie Brise, Saumur Spakling Rosé!
($27 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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