We didn’t start out right.. Firstly, we arrived on a Monday. At 12.30. A disgruntled Thierry told us to come back tomorrow. He was having lunch. So we did. At 11.55. We hadn’t meant to, but the events prior to our arrival had delayed us, and then we got lost. He didn’t look happy.
Suprisingly, he opened the tasting room, and generously began to speak English, which helped our tasting no end. We all like to think we speak a bit of French, but in all seriousness, we can hardly order a beer without struggling.
Thierry is a bit of the Rock’n Roll wine maker with a touch of the leading man character. Tall, rugged, and with an attitude that borders on aloof, he is one of the alternative wine-makers of the Loire. He is originally from Bordeaux, but when he was starting out 20 years prior, the ways of Bordeaux limited him to do his natural winemaking so he moved north.
He makes the same as everyone does here in the region. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. But his favourite wines are Pinot Noir and Riesling. So what does he do? He makes his Cabernet Franc in a style similiar to Pinot Noir – and his Chenin Blanc like Riesling. If these wines were human, they would stand tall, elegant and with poise. There are no flabby bits, no need for the gym. He has made them with fruit at its optimum, not necessarily looking for ripeness (which would translate in high alcohol) but for the balance of acidity and fruit. These wines are athletes.
His range is surprisingly wide, for a winery that only produces wine from 2 varietals. The wine that we stock at Borough Market is the Domaine Roches Neuves, and I believe we once stocked the Insolite. Both are delicious but we were taken by the Marginale which is from a small section of vines which have been selected for a bit of special treatment. The wine has greater depth of fruit and while it is terribly young, if you are impatient (as I dare I might be) you can drink this now, or in 3 yrs or at its best in 8.
Lets see how we get on shall we?