Thierry Germain, Roches Neuves, Samur Champigny 'Terres Chaudes' 2014

75cl Domaine Roches Neuves, Thierry Germain Cabernet Franc France > Loire Spicy, robust and punchy Reds
The Saumur Champigny 'Terres Chaudes' is from organically cultivated grapes grown on the unique tufa-rich soil (sandy clay and clayey limestone soils that suit wines with deep root systems), is really seductive. Yields are a mere 35hl/ha. The grapes macerate for 25 days before undergoing malolactic fermentation. Half the wine is matured in barrels that have been used before, the other half is kept in stainless steel. It is bottled twelve months later when the complexity of aroma is revealed and the tannins have balanced out.

To say that Thierry Germain’s Domaine des Roches Neuves is one of the more exciting new-wave growers of the Loire Valley is to grossly understate the case. He is, in fact, now one of the most exciting producers in the whole of France. With the momentum of a freight train, Germain is a grower who today is producing wines of such quality and authenticity that they cannot be ignored. These are the kind of wines that remind us why the almost forgotten AOC’s of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny in the central Loire were once so famous. They are tremendously pure, energetic and delicious wines, and they are, along with the wines of producers like Clos Rougeard & Romain Guiberteau, putting Saumur back on the fine wine map.
I first encountered Thierry in 2009 at La Dive, the big two day underground tasting of Natural Wines which used to be held at Chateau de Breze at the end of January (Its now held annually at the Caves Ackerman in Saumur). I have witnessed, over the years, a major change in the style of wine produced by Thierry. While the wines were always top notch, Thierry began to use less new oak preferring to age the wines in large “foudre”. Earlier picking was employed and he has shortened maceration times in order to achieve more freshness and an expression of the chalky terroir of Saumur Champigny. Thierry is now also fully committed to Biodynamic farming practices in order to produce these delicious, intense expressions of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc.
In recent years these efforts were vindicated when Thierry was selected as one of La Revue du Vin de France’s ‘vignerons de monde’ in 2011. From seemingly nowhere, Domaine des Roches Neuves has emerged as one of France’s icon biodynamic Estates.

 “More powerful than the Cuvée Domaine, this wine could easily age several years. The colour is dark-ruby, with purple highlights. The bouquet is marked by cassis and blackberries. The palate is dense, with fat fruit, a beautiful structure and fine, ripe tannins. A happy future for this wine which is beautifully balanced in nose and palate.”

Revue du Vin de France re: 2013 vintage


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