Bonhomme 'Le Telquel' Rouge 2022
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Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme is continuing the work he and Thierry Puzelat began many years ago. It was Thierry's idea to expand beyond his family's Tue-Boeuf wines and purchase fruit from neighbors and other growers, allowing him to make more of the easy-drinking natural wine he loved while encouraging others to farm their vines organically, paying them more than they would get for selling conventionally-farmed fruit to others. Looking back after a decade plus, this has been crucially transformative for the region and many vignerons. When Thierry picked Pierre-O to partner with, he was a high-school dropout who had just been working harvests at Tue-Boeuf. Yet Pierre-O has kept this project at the forefront of Loire natural wines since 2013, when Thierry went back to Tue-Boeuf full-time. Thierry knew what he was doing when teaming up with Pierre-O.
The name Telquel is, surprise surprise, a pun. It's a riff on teckel (the French for Dachshund) spun to sound like the phrase for "as is". The idea here to make a simple table wine that reflects the vintage. The blend changes every year but is always Gamay dominant and sulfur is typically not added. The wine's "Un Poil Dur..." tag line extends the canine pun. It literally translates to "A hard hair" but is slang for "rough around the edges."
This wine is a tad rough around the edges but in the best way. It’s always a tad rustic, nervy, full of energy and complexity. It has enough fruit and acid to be refreshing and enough savory and tannin to stand up to complex meals. I get floral berry aromatics mixed in with bright spring herb garden on the nose. On the palate I get a bit of underripe currant, menthol, anise, and white pepper.
I fell in love with this wine earlier this year and it has reinforced my love of Gamay. This year this is a blend of Gamay, Cab Franc, and a bit of Syrah and Grenache from the Roussillon region. With climate change hitting the Loire hard, it has been increasingly common to make up for fruit destroyed by frost and hail by purchasing grapes from the south. Jeremy Hernandez