From: Loire Valley, France
Tasting Notes: Showing pure red fruit notes with an undertone of earthiness and pleasant acidity on the finish, this is a delightful bistro-inspired wine. No need to overthink it, it bursts with notes of muddled raspberry and cool tones, while the palate shows a savory and firm side. A pleasure to drink, goes down easy, but hard to forget.
The following is an excerpt from SommSelect’s write-up on the 2018 of this cuvée (though the tasting note is specific to this 2020 vintage):
At first, I couldn’t understand why this Gamay is called “Canaille,” the French word for “rabble” [or ‘scoundrel’]. Then we tasted it, and four different sets of hands reached out to claim the bottle. I can’t help but think it’s called Canaille because this wine draws a crowd, and a thirsty one at that.
It’s nothing short of drop-dead gorgeous, and it stomped on three very respectable Cru Beaujolais bottling during the same tasting. Hailing from the Touraine district in the Loire, this sneaky little bottle packs an unexpected punch of velvety red fruit and mouth-watering minerality. It’s certainly greater than the sum of its parts—40-year-old Gamay, organic farming, neutral oak, a touch of carbonic maceration—which means that it’s held together by that particular je ne sais quoi that’s defined every great French wine I’ve ever had. And since Touraine remains firmly under the radar of all but the savviest Gamay lovers, it’s priced so that you can order a case and invite your own canaille over for an unforgettable drink.
Back in the 18th century, Clos Roussely was an outbuilding of the enormous castle perched at the center of the village of Angé-sur-Cher. Even today, its meter-and-a-half thick walls do a better job of insulating the ancient winery than most modern constructions, and the 250-year-old, hand-dug caves are stacked floor-to-ceiling with perfectly conditioned barrels. The transition from outbuilding to winery began in 1917, when Anatole Roussely purchased it with the intention of converting it into a winemaking facility. He was the first of four generations to pour his life's work into the Clos, and today his great-grandson, Vincent Roussely, carries on the tradition with the same meticulous attention to detail.
While the majority of the eight hectares farmed by Roussely are dedicated to Touraine’s signature Sauvignon Blanc, there’s a postage-stamp parcel of old Gamay at the heart of the property. The dense clay and tuffeau limestone soils are flecked with deposits of flint, which allows for a superbly mineral expression of Gamay. The property has been organically certified since 2007, and completely eschews any chemical additions or pesticides in addition to tilling the 40 year-old Gamay by horse-drawn plow. Their old-school methodology is as straightforward and charming as the resulting wines. Grapes are hand-harvested and undergo a particularly slow natural fermentation in the cool underground cellars. The Gamay undergoes partial carbonic maceration, a process by which some whole grapes are kept intact and actually begin alcoholic fermentation within the confines of their skins. It’s not unusual to find partial carbonic maceration in our favorite Cru Beaujolais, and it’s a welcome addition to the Canaille since it adds a beautiful dose of fresh, perfumed red fruit aromas.
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