While we love and champion the world’s illustrious varietals ie: Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, we reserve a fair share of our shelf space for the more esoteric and uncommon. Actually, to call ’Tressallier’ rare is an understatement, as it is nearly extinct! Today, this obscure white grape (which was popular amongst Capetian kings and the Popes in Avignon during the middle ages), occupies a mere 90 acres of land worldwide; the vast majority of those vineyards are located in Saint-Pourçain, one of France’s oldest wine regions and a satellite appellation of the Loire Valley. Nearly wiped out by the Phylloxera epidemic in the mid-19th century, the grape never quite reclaimed its former stature. Instead, it has been used almost exclusively as a blending grape with Chardonnay and rarely bottled alone. This is a shame considering it renders very charming qualities in the hands of a talented producer. Named after the regional Allier river, Tressallier is planted on mineral-rich, alluvial soils and offers a Chablis-like quality (albeit slightly leaner) with characteristic notes of sea salt, crushed chalk, citrus and hazelnuts. Oftentimes rested on its fine lees, Tressallier showcases a gentle plumpness akin to a Muscadet. The best versions, like the ‘Le Tressallier des Gravieres’ which we are featuring in this month’s club, yield a captivating tension between bright, brisk qualities and a subtly rich texture. We owe many thanks to producers like Domaine Nebout, one of the few pioneers dedicated to preserving the Tressallier grape and crafting pure, mono-varietal expressions for us to enjoy.