For the Domestique vacation, I made my inaugural visit to the Loire Valley to learn more about the producers and region that are the heartbeat of the shop. I spent six whirlwind days meeting new people, grasping at the French being spoken around me, and drinking wine. And I went solo. Traveling alone is often extremely rewarding. It's also, many times, challenging, especially as a young woman. I'm constantly explaining how I got there and why I belong. But then there are experiences like mine with Ariane Lesne.
Spending a day with Ariane was the highlight of my trip. She's new to the Selection Massale portfolio and also breaks the mold by focusing on Pineau d’Aunis. In the spring of 2015, she took over Domaine de Montrieux, in the Côteaux du Vendômois, from Emile Heredia. And I fucking love her. She is bold, smart, and unapologetic. Her Pineau d'Aunis is beautifully aromatic with acid structure and tannins that radiate.
During a week spent by myself in rural France, Ariane made me feel brave and want to be bolder. She's one of the few female producers in the Côteaux du Vendômois and she does all the vineyard (and cellar) work by herself. I was amazed and inspired by her.
- Rebekah Pineda