Bainbridge & Cathcart Les Jongleurs 2015
I've got a man-crush right here.
Toby Bainbridge kicked off his agriculture career driving one of those house-sized combine harvesters all over the American west for a few years. In Oklahoma he met his wife Julie, and not long after they hightailed it for France to work in wineries and teach English in Burgundy. An opportunity with a Loire winery called Domaine Mosse (through an Aussie connection) planted Toby and Julie firmly in Chavagnes-les-Eaux, a whopping village of about 120 habitants near Angers.
Toby works about 4.5 hectares of vines, mostly near Faye d'Anjou. He grows the little known Grolleau Noir for some red and sparkling wine, but his treasure is a plot of just under 2 acres of 60 year-old Chenin Blanc. He makes just one wine, and only a few thousand bottles of Les Jongleurs to highlight this vineyard.
Like all of Toby's wines, this one is filled into a clear glass Champagne bottle and closed simply with a crown cap. He likes this in order to preserve freshness and to make sure the wine is never tainted by natural cork. The result is an, at first, slightly spritzy white wine that after half a minute yields a lively, bright, citrus-filled white wine. It is a classic dry Chenin Blanc that only tops out at about 11% alcohol. (who knew, right?)
This will be the last Jongleurs for at least several years. Due to a deep freeze this past Spring, Toby lost his entire Chenin Blanc crop. What a gut wrencher. But, the good news is that this 2015 will only bring smiles to lots of happy faces!