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Roches Neuves (Thierry Germain), Saumur Blanc Clos de l'Echelier, 2013

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From 70 year old vines of Chenin Blanc planted on diverse soils of sand, clay, and  Turonien Supérieur limestone. With some bottle age, it is rich, honeyed (though not sweet) and toasty, with notes of pear, hazelnut, lemon peel and dried pineapple. A surprisingly young tasting wine, with good acidity and minerality, from one of the Loire's top producers.


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Thierry Germain purchased Domaine des Roches Neuves back in 1991, but it wasn't until he felt the influence of fellow Saumur winemaker Charly Foucault (Clos Rougeard) years later that he began to find what he feels is his true path. He eventually converted to biodynamics under the direction of François Bouchet, who also guided top Bugundy domaines like Romanee-Conti, Leflaive, and Leroy.

In the decade or so since, Germain's wines have dramatically shot up in quality. Catapulting Roches Neuves to its current status as an elite Loire Valley address. Here are world-class wines in both red and white, made with an approach to viticulture to and terroir-expression which has exerted a huge influence on a younger generation of winemakers. The man is an icon.

Professional Reviews

Antonio Galloni

AG 91
"The Clos de L'Echelier is one of only four vineyards in the Saumur region enclosed by a wall (Germain now owns two of these). At just under 2-hectares, much of the site is planted to Cabernet Franc with only 10% devoted to Chenin Blanc. Thierry explains that he had his eye on this limestone-rich clos since he arrived in the region 20 years ago. Dampierre lies close to the river, wedged between Saumur and Clos Romans in Parnay and this site has just a 50 cm layer of argilo-calcaire over pure limestone. The vines here are now reaching 40 years old. Following fermentation with 50% whole bunches, Germain raises this cuvée in 12/hl Stockinger cuves. In this case, we're happy to endorse Mr Payne's review of the wine-Saumur-Musigny has a nice ring to it! Seriously, it's the most compact and deep wine so far, with confit red fruits, succulent tannins and a fine, mineral undertow. Bright ruby with purple highlights. Highly perfumed nose displays raspberry, graphite and violet. Subtle and light on its feet, with good finesse and definition to its bitter cherry and floral flavors. This impressively pure, vibrant wine finishes with silky tannins, good spicy lift and lingering minerality. This is only the second vintage of this cabernet franc, which in its balance is reminiscent of a Chambolle-Musigny." -Vinous


  • Grape Variety

    Chenin Blanc

  • Vintage


  • Size


  • Farming Practice


  • Sweetness


  • Body

    Medium Bodied

Loire Valley Wines

The Loire Valley is France’s greatest source of value for anyone looking for elegant, terroir-driven wines. Our collection celebrates the region’s great diversity, with the mineral-driven whites of Muscadet and Sancerre, the beautiful Chenin Blancs and Cabernet Francs from villages like Vouvray and Chinon, and natural wines from everywhere in the region. Sometimes wonderfully fresh and gulpable, sometimes serious and age-worthy, the prices are always very reasonable.

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