Pineau d'Aunis [peh-noh doh-nee] – also known as chenin noir – is a red grape variety that grows primarily in the Loire Valley in France. Pineau d'Aunis almost disappeared in the '70s, but it is having a renaissance. DNA testing has confirmed that pineau d'Aunis is not related to chenin blanc or pinot noir (which it is regularly confused with).
The thin-skinned, red, niche grape can be found mostly in the Anjou wine region and Touraine – an appellation with an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) classification – in the Loire Valley of France.
Pineau d'Aunis was once the Loire’s most popular grape.
Pineau d'Aunis is a spicy wine that has intense aromas and flavours. Pineau d'Aunis often has characteristics of pepper, wild berries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberry fruit flavours, along with earth and even saffron.
You'll like pineau d'Aunis if you like lighter, fresher wines like gamay or pinot noir (though it is spicier than pinot).
Try these examples of pineau d'Aunis from the Loire Valley:
Coteaux-du-Vendômois Domaine Colin Vieilles Vignes 2021 Rouge
Coteaux-du-Loir Vins Gigou Pineau d'Aunis 2021 Rouge
Coteaux-du-Loir Domaine de la Raderie Pineau d'Aunis Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2020 Rouge
Pineau d'Aunis was originally planted and grown for its high yields, however it was difficult to cultivate – it can be susceptible to disease – and was gradually replaced by cabernet franc.
Pineau d'Aunis, like pinot noir, pairs perfectly with duck. Image credit: Ewen Bell and Wine Australia.
Principal AOCs: Anjou-Rouge, Rosé-d’Anjou, Rosé-de-Loire, Crémant-de-Loire, Saumur-Brut, Coteaux-du-Vendômois, Loire Valley PGI.