2020 Pithon-Paillé Grololo Red

Loire Valley, France

Winemaker Jo Pithon originally founded his 26-hectare estate in the Loire Valley’s Anjou appellation back in 1978. Guided by low interventionist principals, which were nearly unheard of at the time, Jo focuses exclusively on organics and biodynamics in the vineyard and in the cellar.

In 2008 he and his wife Isabelle partnered with her son Joseph Paillé and his wife Wendy to create what is now known as Pithon-Paillé.

In 2018, with Jo starting to think about retirement, the family decided to make the tough decision to sell the estate to Ivan Massonat, a businessman and long-time wine enthusiast who also owns a handful of Domaines in Burgundy. Jo is currently training up-and-coming winemaker Adrien Moreau to fill his shoes. Adrien does not lack in experience either, having worked stints at famed estates such Cheval Blanc, Haut-Brion, Harlan Estate, and Roederer.

The estate currently produces approximately 2,500 cases from the estate's own vineyards with an additional 2,500 cases from purchased fruit.

This particular wine is made from a red grape called Grolleau and the label is eye-catching to say the very least. The first three letters of "Grololo" refer to the grape and also suggest "gros", the French word for "large" or "big” and "lolo" is a word that French children use to refer to breasts. To keep things on a level playing field though, the Grololo White features two topless men and the Rosé (which is unavailable in Alberta) features a woman and a man!

As for the name of the actual grape, it’s derived from the French word “grolle”, meaning "crow" and is said to reflect the grapes deep, nearly black colour. The grape is most commonly used to make rosé and tends to produce wines with low alcohol content and relatively high acidity.

Carbonic maceration makes this wine extra juicy and quaffable. It’s got aromas of mixed berries and petrichor (the smell of rain hitting the ground after a long period of warm, dry weather). The palate is vivacious with flavours of Arizona fruit punch and pomegranate with a hint of white pepper and thyme. Chill it down and try it with anything from pizza, to a Southern style BBQ feast or nothing at all!