Review: Single-Serve Wines of Le Grand Verre, 2021 Releases
Single-serve wines don’t often get a lot of love, but Le Grand Verre, a new brand landing in the U.S. this summer, wants to change that. Le Grand Verre describes itself pretty simply, as a “single serve, ethical, proprietarily designed, and predominantly female produced boutique wine collection of France.”
Here’s some backstory:
Envisioned by three French wine-loving friends, Nicolas Deffrennes, Founder, Régis Fanget, Brand and Artistic Director, and Valérian Déjours, Chief Operating Officer, the trio dreamt up LGV with one mission: to embody the culture and experience of tasting premium French wines – without the need to open an entire bottle.
The initial concept, a brainchild of Deffrennes inspired by his days as part of the wine club at Harvard University, quickly grew into an endeavor to feature solely boutique winemakers in lieu of commercial wineries. Those that use organic, ethical, or sustainable farming practices with the majority of them certified by France’s overseeing body Ecocert and Terra Vitis. Deffrennes and his counterparts aimed to make French wines more approachable by providing highly curated selections, thereby taking the onus off consumers to navigate the vast breadth of options available to them. The exclusive LGV collection represents France’s best styles, varieties and terroir from esteemed regions such as Bordeaux, Languedoc, and Provence.
Under a highly meticulous process the LGV trio tasted hundreds of wines from across France, primarily dedicating efforts toward wines crafted by almost entirely female winemakers, female-led, or female-owned estates, as well as those with distinct and long family histories of French winemaking tradition. Vetted by a panel of consumers state-side, the team oversees every step of the process from vine to bottle offering the most authentic, affordable and sustainable wines possible for oenophiles and wine newbies alike.
Funded by the Burgundy region the award-winning LGV bottles are proprietarily designed and packaged in a modern way to be enjoyed anywhere, anytime – without breaking the bank. Purchased in sets of 4 ranging from $20-$30, the 6.3 oz. design of each bottle is larger than your typical pour at 6 oz., as the name Le Grand Verre suggests. The wines are also made from recyclable materials and double-coated to preserve aromas.
“From the beginning we knew we needed to maintain the high standards set forth by the incredible winemakers who joined us in our mission. Developing an elevated and vastly unique single serve bottle to showcase their incredible wines was a challenging, exciting project,” explained Régis Fanget, Brand and Artistic Director of LGV. “The final product is a tall sleek bottle and an elegant departure from the canned wine masses we’ve seen over the past few years. Partnering on this endeavor with one of my oldest and dearest friends Nick has been a pleasure, to say the least. We’re thrilled to share our French wines with American palates.”
Powerhouse female producers include Elisabeth Prataviera of Domaine de Ménard & Haut-Marin the creator of Le Grand Verre Domaine Prataviera, a Sauvignon Blanc from Côtes de Gascogne known for stellar white wines. Prataviera took over the vineyards from her mother who has helmed the estate since 1960, both following in her family legacy while allowing for innovation such as the of use organic fertilizer to preserve soil. Similarly, Inès Andrieu of Domaine de Caylus produces Le Grand Verre Domaine Caylus, a rosé blend of Syrah and Grenache from the Languedoc-Roussillon winemaking region. Andrieu inherited the vineyard from her grandfather and quickly became a champion for the importance of preserving the region’s biodiversity, converting the estate to organic farming in 1999. Le Grand Verre Domaine Nadal Hainaut of Domaine Nadal Hainaut is an organic Chardonnay from the hands of husband-and-wife team Martine and Jean-Marie Nadal. The château has belonged to the family since 1900 and was fully converted to organic growing in 2010 making it a home to many new insects and birds. The Nadals’ plan to leave the estate with their three daughters Julie, Pauline, Marie and Luce. Laurence Dupuch of Château Peyredon Lagravette works in tandem with her husband Stephane to produce Le Grand Verre Château Peyredon, one of the prized wines of the LGV collection. This quintessential Haut-Medoc Crus Bourgeois blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with fruit picked from vines over 100 years old is crafted with world famous oenologist Hubert de Bouard, the winemaker and owner of Château Angelus, one of the four most prestigious Saint-Émilion estates. Another cult classic is Le Grand Verre Château Val D’Arenc, an organically certified Bandol rosé blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault produced by the young and innovative male winemaker, Gérald Damidot, in Provence. Under Damidot’s leadership the estate converted to organic farming practices in 2015 significantly enhancing the quality of the wine. This is one of the very few rosés to consistently rate above 90 points by critics.
So, the takeaways here are you’re getting a set of four small bottles of each wine, encased in slim plastic tubes that contain 6.3 ounces of juice (1/4 of a bottle) — a great concept for those drinkers who don’t want to open a whole bottle of wine, or who are concerned about portion control.
LGV has more than a dozen wines available on its site, each available as one-off purchases or as part of its wine club ($30 per month gets you introductory pricing plus 30% off).
LGV sent us four samples from its current lineup to try. Let’s see how well they pull this off.
2020 Château Val D’Arenc Bandol Rose – 80% mourvèdre, 10% grenache, 10% cinsault. Fresh and clean, with peach, strawberry, grapefruit, and clean linen notes in abundance. Lots of acidity keeps the wine vibrant and zippy, with just a touch of creamy vanilla on the back end to take you out on a silky, seductive note. A- / $30 per four-pack of 6.3 oz bottles
2020 Domaine Caylus Rose Blend – 60% syrah, 40% grenache. Sultry and less effusive than the Bandol, this cuts a more traditional Languedoc-style rose profile, gently floral with fresh strawberries and cream in abundance. Restrained but pleasant throughout, it’s a springtime wine that hints at citrus on its short finish. B / $25 per four-pack of 6.3 oz bottles
2020 Domaine Caylus Chardonnay – Quite acidic, with a surprising tropical note and a big melon character up front. Lots of stony minerals as the wine evolves. Notes of lemon Pledge give the finish a bit of a saccharine quality, though some time in glass helps some of the slightly off notes to blow off a bit. B- / $25 per four-pack of 6.3 oz bottles
2019 Château Peyredon Haut-Medoc Cru Bourgeois – 63% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot. Prototypically Bordeaux, heavy with earth, licorice, and a touch of mushroom. Dried berries and cherry notes endure on the palate, while balsamic notes percolate well into the rustic but effusive finish. B / $30 per four-pack of 6.3 oz bottles