Brendan Tracey's Gorge Seche red blend 2015 mixes pineau d' aunis, gamay teinturier And malbec. The last of these may be the only one that is broadly familiar.
Pineau d'Aunis is a rather obscure grape. Several sources cited it as the favorite wine of Henry III. Henry was a rather obscure king. One reason he isn't widely thought of as one of the worst in English history might be because his father was John, widely seen as the the worst head to ever wear a crown on the Island.
Poor pineau d' aunis had a poor king as benefactor but, at least this one wine, make with the grape a star. It is light in color , a color which is close to a glass of cranberry juice. It seems as if it has a lot of compressed CO2 and a brisk
acidity. Pineau d'aunis is comparted to wines like ruche and lagrein, often grown in Italy and in the latter case Southern Germany. I had it with a little bit of a chill on it.
This blend, which is 60 percent Pineau, reminds me a little of a couple of different counoise Ive had but this is more acidic than those. This wine is, of course, not just pineau; it has 30 percent gamay teinturier and ten malbec as well. Malbec is a well known grape, these days because of the big wines from Argentina but this is a small percentage and it may be there to add a little bit of tannic grippiness.
The gamay teinture is also a neat addition. Teinturier grapes are those where the juice is actually red. Most red wine (the VAST majority) gets its redness from skin contact, the pigmentation is in the skin. In teinturier grapes the flesh of the grapes are red. There are not many quality wines that are made from teinturier grapes (or so the conventional story goes).
This wine will appeal to fans of German pinot noir and maybe some of the lighter Oregon ones but it is a different creature from either of these. Fans of schiava/trollinger may also be on board.
Brendan Tracey is a natural winemaker working in the Loire but from the USA. I have recently had discussions with people who think "natural wine" always tastes like the monkey cages at the zoo smell. That is idiotic. "Natural" wine is a fairly ill defined term and basically refers to wine with less intervention from the winemaker. There is less use of pesticides and other inorganic substances in the process of wine making. MANY very mainstream, old fashioned, winemakers are "natural" in one way or another. And this wine is just flat out delicious. Brendan Tracey also makes a lovely pet nat.
Some people like to pretend sophistication by dissing "natural" wine and others like to act like counterculture revolutionaries by embracing it. The truth is you can get good wine in all sorts of ways--but who WANTS to drink pesticides?