Domaine des Roches Neuves, 'Clos Romans', Saumur Blanc AOP


In any vintage, Clos Romans possesses a stately presence with a pristine, driving core of acidity. The 2016 is especially commanding, delivering a saturating wash of cool-toned yellow fruits, minerals, spice and flamboyant floral high-notes. For all its intensity, the wine is animated by an incredible lift and polished stony core.

Clos Romans comes from a stunning parcel; a Clos in the village of Parnay, facing the Loire and dating back from the 6th Century. Natural grass, weeds and flowers are let grow freely between the vines which come from selection massale. Harvest is manual, the wine ferments in oval-shaped, 400 litres wooden barrels. It ages for 9 months on its fine lees. The nose is unique, it starts off with concentration, freshness, generosity and power, then makes way to the most amazing and complex scents of white fruit, summer flowers and enticing vegetal notes. White and exotic fruit, lemon, grapefruit, acacia, rose and hawthorn flowers wrapped in racy mineral notes.

Clos Romans is one of the great wines of the Loire. Sadly, the tiny production is quickly snapped up by Michelin 3-Star restaurants across Europe. We always wish we had more to offer, but feel grateful for any bottles that we can get our hands on.

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. In 2020, Thierry's son Louis joined the estate after studying oenology and practising in Loire, Bordeaux, Champagne and New Zealand.

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.

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