One of the most welcome wine trends of the last few years has been the meteoric rise of “glou-glou” reds like today’s charmer from Maison Crochet. In fact, Crochet’s “Native” is everything the kids are crazy for in wine these days: It’s organically farmed and naturally made; it’s a pétillant naturel, or “pét-nat,” meaning it displays a slight, natural effervescence; and yes, it is a lightweight, gluggable vin de soif (“wine for thirst”) you can imagine a rag-tag band of vineyard workers enjoying with a chill over lunch.
Or maybe it’s the bottle you share on the sidewalk outside your favorite wine bar as you munch on a few snacks. Whatever the scenario, this Pinot Noir-Gamay-Chardonnay blend is all about conviviality and straightforward deliciousness, and most important of all, it isn’t some confection masquerading as a wine—this is a tangy, mineral, cool-climate red with real character, a Bourgogne Rouge/Cru Beaujolais mashup lightened and lifted by the inclusion of white grapes and the slightest hint of spritz. The label perfectly captures the joyful, spontaneous, rock n’ roll quality of the wine inside—if a curmudgeon like me can be so enraptured by it, you may have a new “house” red on your hands!
If all that weren’t enough, “Native” hails from one of French wine’s outlier winegrowing zones—the Moselle River Valley, west of Alsace, not far from where the waterway becomes the Mosel upon entering Germany. Maison Crochet’s winery and vineyards are in the Lorraine region, through which the Moselle flows from its origins in the Vosges Mountains before entering Germany (and becoming the Mosel). There are a few wine appellations in Lorraine, including the “Moselle” and “Côtes de Toul” AOCs, but the Crochet wines are bottled without such designations, carrying the Vin de France moniker instead.
The Crochet property in Bulligny includes five hectares of organically farmed vineyards in limestone marl soils, from which they produce an array of Champagne-method sparklers as well as pétillants and still whites and reds. They make a white, a rosé, and a red under the “Native” label, with this wine combining a third each Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Chardonay. The Chardonnay and the Pinot Noir are de-stemmed while the Gamay grape clusters are left intact, and all three varieties are co-fermented on native yeasts in stainless steel tanks. Only a trace amount of sulfur is added at bottling, when the wine is sealed up under a crown cap, trapping a small amount of natural effervescence in the bottle.
The 2019 “Native” is all about exuberant freshness and primary fruit aromas, with lots of energy and snap on the palate. It has a light ruby hue in the glass, with aromas of black cherry, wild strawberry, cranberry, pomegranate, blood orange, rose petals, violets, herbs, and crushed rocks. The fruit is perfectly ripe and tangy, not sweet, on the palate, with loads of freshness driving an aromatic finish. Serve it at 50-55 degrees (or even a little cooler) in Burgundy stems and you’ve got one of the most versatile, high-energy food wines you could possibly ask for—refreshing, with modest alcohol, and well-suited for the flavors of the season. Would this be a pitch-perfect light red for the Thanksgiving table? You bet it would, so consider grabbing a handful—I guarantee it’ll be the first wine to disappear. You might consider a dry run with the attached recipe, or just enjoy it al fresco,
wine-bar style, with some snacks. “Enjoy” is the operative word here. Cheers!