Le Rouge-Gorge is one of the most regular, over-delivering, delicious, consistent cuvées of Pineau d'Aunis you can find in the Loire. It is in other words a benchmark for what this under-valued grape (not of course at CSW) is capable of. In the talented, wise hands of Eric & Clément Nicolas, the Pineau d'Aunis shows its delicacy yet its ability to be layered, structured, terroir-driven. Being high in rotundone and sensitive to geosmin, it is easy to think Aunis is just a light peppery, earthy red, or rosé. But it can be so much more, floral, herbal, wild, with orange zest, and a refined tannic structure. When yields, farming, vinifications are in check, it works, and in fact Eric & Clément don't hesitate to do 4 weeks of maceration with foulage, and long aging from these old vines definitely showing what the grape is capable of. Rouge-Gorge 2018 is absolutely yummy. The concentration due to the mildiou (which reduced the crop early in the season) and the heat gave quite some structure to this wine, but without loosing the chalky freshness. In fact, despite this density, it tastes so fresh. The nose is unmistakably Aunis, with this combinaison of wild cherry & strawberry, black and pink peppercorn, fern and rose. The palate mimics the nose, but brings more savory undertones of fennel, caraway and tomato leaf. Tanins are chalky, the gentle aging in older barrels making them even more velvety. This is just delicious and complex. Enjoy it now in a Burgundy glass - you can slightly chill it - or keep it up to 10 years no problem. Play of course with the tannins, the acidity and the pepperiness for the pairings: some wild boar, duck or bison charcuterie, smoked eels, some over-roasted pulled pork would be great, but also with a spicy lentil stew.