Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate has recently released its 50 best wines of 2015. In tht list there are the usual suspects, Beaucastel’s Hommage a Jacques Perrin, Guigal’s La Landonne, Pingus, L’Ermita, Chateau Haut Brion and an American wine called Bionic Frog syrah! No. I’ve not heard of it either, but it retails for around £180 a bottle, so it should be good.

Anyway I’m not writing about that wine. What I am writing about is that nestled in amongst all these world class red wines is a humble Moulin-a-Vent by a grower that we discovered last year called Richard Rottier. The wine in question is his 2013 Moulin-a-Vent Champ de Cour, which when reviewed by Neal Martin in the June 2015 issue of the Advocate was given a 93 point rating and this is a wine that retails for a fraction of the Bionic Frog!

Richards winery is situated in the village of Romaneche-Thorins, which John visited last year during his Beaujolais ‘Odyssey’ Apparently the domaine is undergoing major renovation work at the moment so it is currently in a somewhat ramshackle state. Or as Neal Martin describes it, as being in a “beautiful timeworn fashion”

Richard comes from a wine making family, his mother owns the Domaine des Malandes in Chablis and like many young vignerons he has spent time learning his trade in California, South Africa, New Zealand and closer to home in Brouilly. He set up his domaine in 2007 and has set about not only renovating the buildings but increasing his holdings from three to five hectares of vines. These vines are between 40 to 80 years old. Like all of the great winemakers he has a passion for the regions history, land and terroir. His vineyards are carefully attended to by hand with the use of green harvesting in the spring to control yields and increase air flow around the vine as well as thinning throughout the growing season to ensure optimal ripeness before harvest. In 2012 he made the switch to organic viticulture and now uses composted tea, and liquid plant manure along with small doses of copper and sulphur.

Harvesting is of course completed by hand with a rigorous selection made before the grapes head to the winery. Richard separates the grapes from his various plots so that the wine-making techniques can be adapted to each lot’s particular terroir and soil type. The Champ de Cour cuvee, which we are offering comes from a plot of his oldest vines situated on clay rich soil. The wine-making process itself is completely traditional with soft extraction and a fairly long maceration period, in fact the 2013 Champ de Cour was macerated over a period of 30 days, with regular remontage and delestage. The wine is then transferred into vats and barrels for the malolactic fermentation and ageing. His basic Moulin-a-Vent ages for 6 to 10 months and the Champ de Cour has 10 to 12 months ageing

I’ll leave the last word to Neal Martin. “If you have not tasted Richard’s wines before then do yourself a favor. [sic] He is one of the new breeds of grower that advocate traditional practices but with forward-thinking attitude……. There is a natural approach to these wines, perhaps a sense of honesty.” And as for the 2013 Champ de Cour. “It’s one of those bottles that you taste and immediately desire a case of!”

Richard Rottiers Moulin a Vent 'Champ de Cour' 2013

A lovely, deep, dark nose of slightly herbal black/red cherry with a touch of balsamic, liquorice, cassis and wood smoke.

Dry, soft acidity and tannins. Silky, seamless and saturated with black/red cherry, liquorice, minerals and blackcurrant. Subtly herbal on the middle with a touch of strawberry and pepper. Superb length with a lovely, long, dark chocolate infused finish. (CG)

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