WINE OF THE WEEK #078
Hi girls & guys,
let’s taste another wine from the Loire valley!
Today we are going to taste a wine from Chinon, an AOC in the center of the Loire valley : WILFRID ROUSSE - AOC Chinon - Clos de la roche 2008
The reason I picked this wine goes way back in time.
One of the first people that showed me that wine could be fun, enjoyable, interesting and worth talking and writing about, was Gary Vaynerchuck. I started watching his WLTV shows in 2010 and eventually I bought my first wine to be featured on my blog on christmas in 2010.
What I can remember like it was yesterday was his neverending stories about the value of Chinon, a hidden gem in the rich wine history of France. It was clear to me that I had to try a Chinon once, because that’s exacty what I’m looking for : value for money.
The style of Chinon is all about freshness and expression, not about age and muscle. That’s exactly why the wine is very popular locally and thus it never gets into the cellars of big collectors, meaning low attention on the international market.
This wine is a good example of Chinon. It’s made 100% from Cabernet Franc grapes, on a south facing slope consisting of limestone and tuffeau : a sub-soil of old sea sediments (chalky but with higher porosity), used to build most of the old local houses and wineries. This is actually very beautiful when you drive (or bike) across the region.
The Clos de la Roche is from the best vineyard of the domaine of Wilfrid Rousse, with vines planted in 1950. The wine is aged in oak, but in old 600l barrels, called “demi-nuits”. The bigger the barrel, the less contact between the juice and oak, so the typical oaky flavours will probably not come through.
I could talk alot more about Chinon, but I bought this wine to taste!
Let’s just open it up and go!
It’s cherry! Nothing rustic or brown about it, just a nice and vivid cherry red.
I got a very interesting experience at my first sniff, I smelled an italian wine, and if I had to guess: “Barbera”.
The wine does not only have a cherry colour, but also a cherry nose, together with violets.
But sniff again, and you’ll know it’s not Barbera.
The nose is a lot more funky if you give it some time :
I smell bell peppers with caramel, oregano and white pepper, and menthol (bloggers @vickywine and @thewinesleuth learned me picking up menthol) and I can assure you there are some animals running around as well. Can’t tell you if it’s a dog, a pig or a sheep. But this wine is definitely not ‘urban’, if you know what I mean.
Really liking it!
This wine hits 2 of my weakest spots at the same time:
1. Balance and softness. What I want from a red wine is it to be soft and velvety, and at the same time show nice freshness to develop extra flavours. This wine does an absolutely perfect job.
2. If point 1 is a fact, then I start hoping for part 2. Maybe it’s because of the old vines, maybe just good wine making, but I am so happy if I taste terroir. There is a link that you can really taste, I mean it, between the herbs and spices (pepper), tasty tannins and delicious fruit. Tasting that link, or terroir, makes it possible to close your eyes and teleport yourself to a place that fulfills your imagination.
That is wine at its best.
On the finish, and it is starting to get really funky now, I taste a church. Wax from the candles, a wooden floor, the herbs from the rituals, a cool climate and a sense of history.
I will have to be honest after this rather glorious review.
Yesterday I opened the bottle during dinner and I thought it was ok, but I struggled to understand what the wine was trying to tell me. I put the bottle in the fridge at night and this morning at 10am I put it on the table again. Now, at 11am in the morning, with my tasting buds all fired up, the wine at probably 16°C and home alone, I feel and taste so much more and the wine just blows my mind.
And maybe that’s my only remark. This wine needs and intimate moment because it is so delicate and breakable, yet so powerful when you taste it in the right conditions. So my advice is, be careful, but go out and try it!!! Wow. (To give you an idea, this wine was €12 at the Vitiloire wine fair.)