End The Year With A Thirst Quencher
A small quantity of Marie and Vincent Tricot's Auvergne Gamay
Marie and Vincent Tricot are bringing back the reputation of the Auvergne region. Illustration by Jonathan Kemp
I'm all for drinking Champagne or sparkling wine whenever the mood strikes, so New Year's Eve bubbles are a must for me. But this year (and this month) have been exhausting, so I think a lot of us need more than just bubbles. We were fortunate to just get some of the most delicious Gamay I've had in a while, and knocking back a glass or two of this in quick succession is just the release I think many of us are looking for.
A so-called 'wine of thirst' or 'vin de soif' is a wine that goes down quite easily. However, my favorite versions are made with a lot of care and attentiveness. It's a lot of work for a wine that will disappear in a flash, but there's something joyful in that. We've only got a little of this wine, and at $29 it's a pretty great deal that will also disappear from our shelves quickly. Two bottles per-customer, please.
Vincent Tricot got into wine tangentially, like many of us. He was a literature student who wanted to travel, and he worked harvests as a seasonal worker in order to finance his journeys around the globe. Eventually he went to winemaking school. When he encountered the wines of Marcel Lapierre in the early 1990's, it was an emotional experience that led him further down the road to making wines without sulfur. Vincent's mentor Patrick Cotton had worked for both Lapierre and Jules Chauvet, the persona who started the natural wine movement for all intents.
In 2002, Vincent and his wife Marie took over a small estate in a far eastern part of the Loire called the Auvergne, that is essentially it's own region. The previous owners had been working organically since the early 1970s, a rarity. However, Marie and Vincent found that the Auvergne's dry climate and volcanic soils were very favorable to making wines organically and without adding sulfites. The region had been full of vines before the 20th century, but never recovered after phylloxera and two World Wars. Now it's slowly making a comeback and the percentage of natural vignerons there is higher than almost any other region in France.
As for the 'Rouge Lux' Gamay, it falls right in between Loire and Beaujolais Gamay in terms of weight. It's got blueberry, wild strawberry, and ethereal floral notes and just the perfect amount of herbaceous tang and lift to keep you filling your glass. Drink it on it's own with a slight chill or pair with literally any food. It has enough acidity to match tomatoes, enough finesse to work with spicier fare, and plenty of ripeness to simply quaff with abandon.
Champagne is special as a luxury that we use to mark some of our most cherished moments. The Tricot Gamay is special because of it's humility and it's unassuming way of making an ordinary day something memorable. Both feed the soul in different ways, but who says you have to only choose one?
Happy New Year!