DOMAINE DES ROCHES NEUVES, THIERRY GERMAIN, Varrains
Certified Biodynamic by Demeter, Natural
Serious wines are produced at this estate run by the charismatic Thierry Germain. His approach is closer to a Burgundy wine-maker than a typical Loire producer. This 50-acre domaine, situated in a superb viticultural location in the appellation of Saumur Champigny, has been a winery since 1850. Germain, from a long line of Bordeaux winemakers, arrived here in 1991, attracted by the region’s perfect balance of grape varietal, climate and terroir, which he considers one of the finest in France.
The vineyard is worked in a natural way with the goal of keeping the vine and the soil at its healthiest and Thierry has become a fully-fledged advocate of biodynamics. The harvest is manual, selecting grapes at their very ripest level. Vinification is handled in small batches with bottling unfined and unfiltered. Germain has garnered praise in the European press for his exciting wines, which are always filled with ripe, generous fruit and supple textures.
Revue du Vin de France – Michel Bettane “One of the elite wine-growers, (Germain) gathers exceptionally ripe grapes which give a unique smoothness and velvety texture to his wines…. One might think that Thierry Germain was going to take a break. Indefatigable, he continues to progress in refining each of his cuvées. All of his wines are superb, but not easy to obtain because the demand for them is so great.”
Painstaking attention to detail: the grapes are selected at optimum maturity to create suave, velvety, plump wines.
L’Insolite is from a plot of vines some 85 years old, 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 nobly rotten grapes), 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. The wine is paean to Chenin Blanc, a snapdragon on an anvil, and drinking it will give your goosebumps goosebumps. After a couple of hours in the carafe drink it with lobster in sauce, sea bass steamed with ginger and/or gourmet Chinese food.
Every year we see an evolution in Thierry’s wines. They possess finer bone structure and less obvious oak influence, they challenge the palate with their energy. This is the move to natural winemaking.
‘Thierry Germain, Meilleur vigneron de l’année 2011 (Winegrower of the Year)’ Revue des Vins de France, 2011