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Can a bottle of wine be described as just plain fun and joyful?

Yes is the answer and the bottle that epitomizes this for me lately is the unusual and awe inspiring Le Cousin Rouge from biodynamic winemaker, Olivier Cousin from the Loire Valley.

Everything about this wine falls to the natural side of the center:

  • Certified biodynamic
  • 100% Grolleau. Ancient almost extinct grape entirely used for rose wine
  • Ancient vines, reportedly 80 years old
  • Winemaker’s notes state no sulfites

And everything about this bottle speaks to accessibility, enjoyment, and suspending disbelief.

I love presenting the story behind the bottle as I serve and taste wine with friends. I’ve brought out this bottle, maybe six or more times since Thanksgiving to both wine geeks and infrequent wine drinkers alike. And every time I’ve held back the story at first and let the wine speak for itself.

The result has been unanimous! This is a taste test winner every time I’ve uncorked a bottle.

Screen shot 2011-02-10 at 12.25.15 PMThis is just a terrific bottle of wine. Tastes pure and country and exuberantly buoyant and is strangely reminiscent of some the best Trousseaus from the Jura.

There is an earthy berry taste, ever so easy on the palate but focused and concentrated. You can taste the loamy minerality of the soil but it is crisp and silkily acidic.

Oliviere Cousin is an educator, mentor and coach of the biodynamic approach to wine making. He believes…and lives the belief that there is a harmony between man and nature and the intersection of that can be…and is to our benefit, his wine.

His vineyard is tiny, only 12 hectares in the village of Martigne-Briand in Anjou, in the Loire Valley. It is Demeter certified biodynamic. All work is done by hand with the help of his horse Joker. None or very limited added sulfites, no enzymes, no non-indigenous yeasts and no sugars added. And extended maceration period per the winemaker is the key to the character of the wine.

This bottle of Le Cousin Rouge Vielles Vignes Grolleau is not that easy to find. I purchased mine from Chambers Street Wines and they will have more coming in. Ping them and ask to be put on the list or search around online.

At $20 a bottle this is a treat. I would buy it at twice that and be content.

I incessantly lament that the best small production artisanal wines need to be remembered on the palate and in this blog as they are limited in production. What I do is set up alerts on Google by the winemakers name and buy the winemaker as he makes wine regardless of the vintage. So far, this strategy is working as while each vintage is different, its the place and the winemaker that are my trusted guides to something new.

Try and find wines by Olivier Cousin, imported by Jenny & Francois Selections. It’s worth the effort.

I and many of my guests have found this wine wonderful. Please do let me know what you think.