50/50, Julie et Toby Bainbridge

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50/50, 2020, Julie et Toby Bainbridge

Elegant, light and slightly savoury red

Region: Loire, France

Grape(s): Grolleau & Cabernet Franc

Genre: Organic certified

Low Sulphur: Yes

Tasting Notes: Red and black berries, fresh, mineral, herbal 

Julie and Toby Bainbridge are based in Anjou, Loire and have been making wine in their own domaine since 2012. Having met in Oklahama, USA, when British-born Toby was working on Julie’s parents’ farm, the couple moved to Loire in the early 2000s and Toby has worked in the cellar at several prestigious Loire natural wine makers – including René Mosse. Now they have their own place and are farming 6.5 ha of vines. Mostly planted on calcium-rich soils, the majority of their holding are old vine Grolleau, with a little Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc. They are certified organic and utilise some biodynamics, they bottle their wines in recycled Champagne bottles and only ever use a crown-cap – including for their still wines. They make fresh and pure wines, typically in steel or fiberglass, so retain this freshness and energy. In this way, Toby has learnt but changed tack from his time at Mosse, who is renowned for his long aging, typically in oak.

A helpfully entitled 50/50 blend of Cabernet Franc and Grolleau, coming from old vines (up to 90 years) from a single vineyard. The two grapes are vinified separately: Grolleau is destemmed and macerated for five days, while the Cabernet Franc is macerated as whole bunches for ten days. They are then pressed and combined into steel for ageing. A fresh, typically green-tinged red from Loire, that brings together dark fruit, herbaceous elements and an earthy edge from the Grolleau.