Wine of the Week: Vin Rouge (Vin de France)

The first week back on air after the Christmas break was capped off with a gorgeous Vin Rouge for the Wine of the Week slot on the show where on Friday I joined again by Pascal Rossignol from Le Caveau in the Market Yard, Kilkenny.

While we wax lyrical about the thirst-quenching feature for this week, it also gave a chance to dig a little more into the world of natural wines, one for which both Pascal and Le Caveau have been recognised once again in 2016.

Here’s what the McKenna’s had to say about Pascal and his continued promotion of natural wines.

Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, Kilkenny
Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, Kilkenny

Ten years ago, when Pascal Rossignol first began to introduce natural wines, via his shop and wine company Le Caveau, people scoffed. No one’s scoffing now. Thanks to the patient advocacy of Mr Rossignol and his partner, Colm McCan, we are well on the way to creating a wine world where natural is normal, and where industrialised wines are seen as the over-chemicalised concoctions that they are. The Le Caveau wines are superb, and there is no better advocate for the cause than Pascal.

More Accolades

As you’ll head in the interview below, the New Years celebrations were plentiful in Kilkenny with Le Caveau once again (third year in a row) being named as the Sunday Business Post’s Fine Wine Merchant of the Year.

With a team of six looking after the retail end in Kilkenny and the trade and tasting end nationwide, it’s certainly been a busy and productive time of late for Le Caveau and the feelers are out to introduce more growers to the Irish market in 2017.

Let’s Talk About Wine

As for the wine itself, this is a real treat.

Vin de France Vin Rouge is a Gamay, matured in large wooden vats, neither filtered nor fined, it displays exhuberant red raspberry and strawberry fruit flavours, strikingly fresh and vibrant on the palate, it is the very definition of vin de soif (which, when you go looking for the translation, roughly works out as wine for thirst, or ‘wine to quench a thirst’).

Thierry Puzelat (the grower) joined his brother Jean-Marie in their family estate, Le Clos du Tue Boeuf in 1994. Four years later, Thierry started a small negociant business, buying organically growned grapes from trusted local winegrowers. Having met and worked with Francois Dutheil (Bandol) and Marcel Lapierre (Morgon), two pioneers of the natural wine movement, Thierry decided he too, wanted to make his wines as naturally as possible.

The surprising thing about the first glass of the Vin Rouge is just how drinkable it is. It’s a beaut. Fresh, not at all what I had expected from a red, light to the taste but packed full of fruity flavours.

But look, don’t just take my recommendation for it, take a listen instead to the chats between myself and Pascal, learn about the grower, find out how business has been in the natural wine trade in Ireland for 2016 and how things are shaping up for the year ahead.


RRP for the Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Vin de France Vin Rouge is €18.85 at lecaveau.ie.

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Ken McGuire

Broadcaster and sports writer at KCLR96FM; digital media head with a production eye on theatre, film and video; Read my Irish food blog, Ken On Food.

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