François Saint-Lô "Hey Gro!!"
Region: Loire, France
Retailer: Lou Wine Shop
Importer: Terrell Wines
There's only so long one can go before they're back on their bullshit.
Approximately three months if we're talking about me and light red wines.
I've been flirting with méthode Champenoise bubbles, lusting traditional Burgundy, and sneaking around with vintage Barolo. But no matter what transcendent Chardonnay crosses my dinner table or what new wave Merlot that "gets me thinking" is poured, what really gets my thighs tingling is a light-bright, tart-pop red.
But not all light reds are the same. Just because a bottle is natural and under thirteen percent does not make it great, just like ninety-five points or a buck-fifty price tag doesn't make a bottle even enjoyable.
Same goes for hip-hop. And François Saint-Lô's "Hey Gro" Grolleau drinks like a Chance the Rapper album. Yes, you can party with it-- it's extremely fun and poppy-- but at the same time, it has a real flow, is engaging, and worth musing over. Its acidity pulls off energetic spikes effortlessly and its vibrant red fruit notes ring with raw enthusiasm ("AH! AH! AH! AHHH!"), like an Echo iMessage of the full-grinned emoji in your mouth. It pulls you in with its technique, and holds you with soft roots of spice. It's bold, it's bouncy, it's quick, but it's also rhythmic, smooth, and at times emotional.
Perhaps that last part is just me.
Some of the recent conversations around natural wine have been disheartening at best. At worst, they have been uninformed, petty, and/or downright fucking crotchety. But when I drink a wine like this, I can taste with every bud on my tongue and feel with every ounce in my being that those people are wrong. Natural wine isn't just poorly made bullshit with "cool" labels, and glou-glou is still great, god damn it.
And if you'd like to try to stop me, I'll be the crazy "Hey Gro!!" fan waiting in the lobby.
Tasting Notes: Translucent but cloudy, red poppies on the eyes. Goji berries and cranberries tossed with white pepper & allspice on the nose. Light bodied and high acid, the palate is bright and bursting with tart, crunchy cranberries, jellied raspberry seeds, and a lasting air of salty eucalyptus and breathy tannins. There is Brett, but well-integrated. A truly joyous bottle that is easy to drink yet interesting and endlessly delicious. Good open for hours, although I dare you to not drink it all in thirty minutes flat.
Also, revisited a bottle I opened three days ago and had in the fridge corked, and I'm floored that it is still good! The Brett is more pronounced, a little VA, and there is the slightest hint of mouse, but as someone who is super sensitive to mouse, I don't think most people would notice it. I mean, I'm currently having a glass of it, that's how good it still is. Fine. I had two glasses. Who's counting.
Ross Test: I know pearl clutching usually refers to someone reacting to something scandalous or heinous, but you can also clutch your pearls and rip them off out of pure ecstasy as proven by chugging this wine. #1 ROSS TEST OF JANUARY 2018 FOR SURE.