Thierry Germain, Roches Neuves, Samur Blanc 'L’Insolite' 2014

75cl Domaine Roches Neuves, Thierry Germain Chenin Blanc France > Loire Something Special
Saumur Blanc L’Insolite is from a plot of 85 year old vines, grown on clayey-limestone with sandstone and flint subsoil. The grapes are harvested in several picking sessions according to ripeness (three selections (tri) in the vineyard, with the last pass being only grapes affected by noble rot), and yields no more than 18hl/ha. Organic work is done on the soil with special tisanes. Fermented in 12 hl oval foudre to accentuate minerality for 4 months. Aged on the fine lees for 12 months with batonnage. The nose is very attractive, full of pears, pineapple and honey. There is incredible vitality on the palate with perfect balancing acidity.

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.


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