The Art of Chenin Blanc
Situated in the heart of the iconic Layon Valley, lies the beautiful Chateau de la Roulerie. Dating back to the mid-11th century, the Chateau is steeped in history and is named after the 14th century knight, Chevalier Raoul. The estate’s 22 hectares of vineyards are laid out magnificently amongst gently rolling hills, in the form of an amphitheatre of terraces. Under the management of owner, Philippe Germain, the quality of the wines produced here has increased dramatically. Irrespective of the variables of a vintage, the white wines are perfectly balanced, exhibiting luscious, almost exotic fruits, purity and freshness and in our opinion, could be considered as one of today’s reference points, for Loire Valley Chenin Blanc. Considering the fact that 2008 represented the return of winemaking to the domaine after a 20 year hiatus, makes these feats all the more impressive.
In the decades preceding the 2000’s, the winemaking facilities at Roulerie had fallen into disrepair, which meant that the estate’s grapes had to be vinified at Chateau des Fesles (owned and run by Philippe’s brother). However, in 2004, when Phillip took full control of the winemaking operations at Roulerie, he wasted no time (and expense) in renovating all of the buildings at the estate and installing state-of-the-art wine making equipment. Furthermore, determined to raise the quality of the wines, Philippe set to work on improving the vineyards, which are now fully organic, sustainable and currently in conversion to bio-dynamic. After 4 years, all the hard work paid off, the Chateau returned from the winemaking wilderness and vinification of all the production began in-house with the 2008 vintage.
Today, Chateau Roulerie is among the very finest estates in the Loire. Controlling yields, picking at optimum ripeness, listening to each vintage but always seeking purity and freshness, the results are spectacular and the newly released 2017’s, we are excited to offer you today, are no different.
Generally 2017 is regarded as a very fine vintage, albeit with volumes down approximately 10% from normal years due to frost damage (in certain vineyards Philippe lost up to 50% of his crop). This slightly rough spring was followed by a perfect summer, with warm and sunny days, making up for chilly spring conditions, allowing the remainder of Philippe’s grapes to ripen fully on the vine up to a month ahead of schedule.
We are delighted today to introduce you to Philippe’s fantastic 2017 white wines all produced from 100% Chenin Blanc.
2017 Anjou Blanc ‘P’tit Chenin’ The entry to the range and representing fantastic value for money. A wonderfully refined, clean and pure white with solid structure. Mouth watering acidity with a creamy ripe palate of subtle green apple and pear fruit, followed by a drip of honey. Elegant and wonderfully balanced, the ripe fruit provided by the vintage and freshness from the acidity make this a true pleasure to drink on these warm summer days.
2017 Anjou Blanc ‘Les Magnolias’ This Chenin from a small 2-hectare single vineyard is the big sister to the P’tit Chenin. With a fabulous intensity and delicious apricot fruit profile, combined with an elegant mineral character from the terroir and fine acidity. Stunning wine. Rounded with a subtle salty note on a long and gourmet finish, this would go well alongside many dishes – fish, poultry and the perfect partner for pork too.
2017 Anjou Blanc ‘Les Terrasses’ At the top of the range we have ‘Les Terrasses’ a deep, complex and rich wine that helps show us just how amazing dry Chenin Blanc can taste. The grey schist terroir from the Roulerie estate helps imbue great structure and roundness here. It is a wine that will offer greater longevity than the others in Philippe’s range, but which also has an exotic palate that is showing superbly now. A mix of floral, white peach and honeysuckle aromas and flavours are balanced with a wonderful sense of tension due to its fine-boned acidity and mineral nature. Despite being heavier and more textured, there is still that wonderful elegance and freshness that has become a hallmark of all Roulerie’s wines. This is a real winner.