(and ps. some dude named Dan will be here on Saturday from Noon-3)

Hey Cru,

Toby Bainbridge, a Brit, and his American bride, Julie, live in a village of about 120 inhabitants in the charming Angevin. They are warmth personified. They make their wine in a small machine shed a few kilometers from their house. It is everything a "mom 'n pop" winery should be--simple, unadorned, and natural.

This is the Loire Valley, a scene of castles, churches and natural parks situated along France's longest natural river. Toby makes just three wines from vineyards totaling about 4 hectares. There are typically about 20,000 bottles to go around. But in 2016 that number is more like 10,000. That's pretty scary math for a small farmer.

The culprit was a 'black frost' in April of that year that froze off the buds of thousands of hectares of vines in the middle Loire from Touraine to Anjou. To hear Toby describe it: "It sucked, mate." His entire 2 hectares of Chenin Blanc was destroyed. He literally made about two dozen bottles, enough to remind him that it was important to perservere. I'm sure they'll drink it all at home.

We visited Toby with a group of travelers this past April and he held court with his witty, dry humor, and also a touch of gallantry. Another 'black frost' was forecasted for the next night, and for the second year in a row he was imagining a new loss. Sure enough, it arrived, and again too many vines got whacked (down about 1/3 this year).

But again, he smiles, pours his wine and says, "Hey, let's enjoy what we have. Let's live in the now."

But here's the rub with these ruinous vintages, especially for the garage winemaker. The wines are awesome. Like really, really great. Toby won't build a new winery, or buy some new equipment on his revenues from the 2016 vintage, but he will continue to build his brand, and he will continue to make lots of friends for his attitude and his winemaking. Because what ended up in the bottle was downright delicious.

Toby toils away day after day with an obscure red grape variety called Grolleau, an ugly duckling that is out of favor with most winemakers. But when farmed meticulously, and to miniscule yields, it gives wonderful wines of aromatic intensity, depth, and overall scrumptious-ness.

There are two wines, but for today's purposes we're talking about this dark pink, almost garnet, bubbly. It's really, really good.

Bainbridge & Cathcart La Danseuse 2016--The Dancer is Toby's beautiful sparkling rosé, a pale-hued wine with a good persistent foam, a minerally dry taste, and 25.4 oz of pure bubbly enjoyment. It should be your house pink sparkling wine and be happily served to all your holiday guests this winter. Just $25. On Sale right now at $22

Want Some?

To order please simply reply to this email with your request: "Three", "Six" (5% further off), "Solid Case" (with an even better 10% off)--whatever your pleasure. The wine is here, in the store, right now, as I write this. Why not stop by to taste some, have a glass even, and/or grab some to take home?

Tasting Friday 4-7pm and Saturday Noon-6pm. We'll pour this plus a number of other great imports--Chablis, and Tuscan red blend, and a juicy little Barbera. Come one, come all.


Dan, Amalie, and Yamile

Team Cru

CorksCru Wine Merchants
339 NW Broadway Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
T: (503) 226-9463

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