Julie & Toby Bainbridge Cuvée Crush 2020 ! Weighing in at 9.5% abv, Crush packs a mouthful of crunchy savoury red fruits 🥊 and demands to be chilled down before cracking open.
Julie and Toby have been based in Anjou now for nearly two decades. Her dad was the manager of the co-op where Toby's harvest crew took the wheat. Julie was working there, weighing trucks and testing wheat.
They met in the only bar in town over a game of darts.🎯
After a short stint working for Didier Chaffardon, Toby took on a position working in the vineyards of another Anjou icon, René Mosse, a position he held even after they started their own domaine in 2012. Since then they have built their own cellar in Chavagnes-les-Eaux and amassed just over 8 hectares of land, with about 6.5ha currently under vine. The usual suspects are grown on calcium-rich, drought resistant soils, with a focus on Grolleau (or Groslot as it is called locally) but also small holdings of Chenin Blanc and some Cabernet Franc. Whilst Julie and Toby are both clearly skilled in the cellar, the hard work is done in the field, with care and attention to respect the land - all their vineyards are worked organically, with biodynamic principles also employed.
In their own words the aim is to make light and straightforward wines which offer pleasure and refreshment in their simplicity. These are not wines to be aged or contemplated profoundly, hence the recycled champagne bottles and crown caps, but enjoyed for what they are. To that end, in the cellar, macerations are generally short and neutral vessels are always used, whether fibreglass or stainless steel." This Cuvée Crush is an utterly chillable 100% Grolleau which drinks with the same ease and approachability as everything that Julie and Toby do.
Even at 9.5% alcohol this subtly hints at this grape’s peppery, plummy depths and makes us wish we saw a lot more of this unheralded, indigenous Loire Valley variety in the wild !