2020 Domaine Thierry Germain, Saumur-Champigny AOC, Roches Neuves “Les Mémoires” Loire Valley, France.
Wow, these Loire reds from 2020 are something very special, and this 2020 Saumur-Champigny Les Mémoires by the legendary Thierry Germain is spectacular stuff, even in its youth this wine is simply gorgeous rivaling Burgundy for elegance and showcases Cabernet Franc in its best and most pure form with stunning aromatics and seamless depth! This wine seduces the senses with violets and sultry earthiness on the nose and echos on the medium/full and satiny palate that delivers crushed blackberries, dark plum, mulberry, tangy currant and kirsch layers that is wonderfully accented by a subtle array of spices, a hint of bell pepper, chalky stones, anise, sandalwood and woody wild mushrooms. I am a huge fan, as are thousands of enthusiasts of the Loire Valley, of these Germain wines, the collection of Saumur-Champigny Rouge bottlings here are outstanding, they used to be really difficult to get, but I am grateful that Kermit Lynch which brought them into his portfolio a few years back, making them much easier to find here in the States. This Roches Neuves Les Mémoires looks to have a long and rewarding life ahead of it, and while I opened it now and loved it, those with patience will want to put a few bottles away, I can imagine this wine giving pleasure for decades, rather than years!

Kermit Lynch says that Thierry Germain’s Domaine Roches Neuves has vines, that are old, wise, and vibrantly healthy, thanks to Thierry’s biodynamic viticulture and fantastic attention to detail in the vineyards and in the cellar. Lynch goes on, adding that, Roches Neuves, whose vineyards are planted in the Saumur (Blanc) and Saumur-Champigny (Rouge) appellations, has rightfully become one of the greatest examples of high achievement in biodynamic vine growing in France. This puts him up there with the greats, that Kermit also imports, like Abbatucci in Corsica, Ganevat in the Jura and Domaine Ostertag in Alsace. Thierry Germain’s total dedication to site specific wines, some of the most distinctive Loire wines are hand-crafted from Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc grapes, which Kermit calls his “parcellaires,” they are very noteworthy offerings, some of the most exciting wines in the Loire Valley today, all of which I totally agree with. This Les Mémoires was made from 112 year old vines in the Saumur-Champigny zone, near Dampierre sur Loire, set on Silex Scree and Turonien Supérieur Limestone soils, seeing 100% de-stemmed grapes in the fermentation and was gently macerated in conical tanks and was then aged one year in well seasoned 2500L foudre(s) to promote transparency, natural form and terroir nuance. The lighter touch pays off greatly here and this wine, with its supple tannin and inner vitality oozes class and nobility, as well as being excellent with a range of cuisine from duck breast to simple farm cheeses.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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