Vigneron by way of butcher, Pascal Janvier is one of those souls destined to make wine, despite himself. Fortunately, he wisened up at age thirty and yielded to his inevitable fate. Today, Pascal and his wife Dominique farm a total of nine hectares in the department of the Sarthe in the Val du Loir, a tiny, stony hillside along the Loir River (a tributary of the Loire River), north of Vouvray that is also the most northerly--and coldest--of the regions of the Loire. The "Cuvee du Rosier" is 100% Pineau d'Aunis from 25 year-old vines planted to 1.6 ha of sandy clay soils in order to promote the development of richness and depth in the fruit. This indigenous red variety yields naturally light-bodied, fragrant reds, with youthful red berry aromas and flavors accented by mineral and herbal notes. Its low to moderate alcohol content, bright acidity, and distinctive herbal qualities makes it best enjoyed with food, assorted meats, truffle-infused dishes, and aged goat's cheese in particular. Janvier's 2011 "Cuvee du Rosier" is textbook Pinot d'Aunis, fresh and spicy, with ample fruit on the midpalate to balance its natural acidity and mineral structure. Try this in place of Pinot Noir for an exciting change in routine.