We couldn’t be more excited to introduce those of you who don’t already know these amazing wines to some of the Loire Valley’s all- time greatest hits. Very few domaines anywhere in the world can match this one pound for pound in ecological footprint, consistent quality across a wide range of wines, and that all-important combination of intellectual interest and pure deliciousness. Tasting Thierry Germain’s wines for the first time was love at first sip. A cellar tasting with Thierry in Varrains reminds one of tasting in Burgundy: the barrels are a little larger, and the grape varieties are different, but the way he isolates each parcel and extracts its nuances into each of his cuvées is a thing of great beauty. An added bonus is the geological complexity of Saumur—far more diverse than Burgundy, it provides this vigneron/artist an expanded palette with which to paint his masterpieces.
The rendering of Thierry Germain by renowned French wine artist Michel Tolmer that appears on most of Thierry’s labels is the perfect image to capture the essence of his accomplishment. A tall and imposing presence, physically and intellectually, Thierry casts a long shadow. His vines, old, wise, and vibrantly healthy thanks to biodynamic viticulture, cast an imposing shadow themselves. They meet in a symbolic embrace of perfect connection, each feeding off the other’s energy.
Thierry’s domaine, 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. We put him up there with the greats: Abbatucci in Corsica, Ganevat in the Jura, Ostertag in Alsace. His total dedication to site specific wines produced from Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc, his “parcellaires,” has produced some of the most exciting wines in the Loire Valley today.
Thierry relocated to the Loire from Bordeaux in the early 1990s, and soon fell under the influence of his spiritual father, Charly Foucault of Clos Rougeard. Thierry would ultimately convert his entire domaine to biodynamic viticulture, which was the equivalent of his wine epiphany. Listening and observing his plants, allowing them to guide him, revolutionized his way of thinking. Thierry harvests on the relatively early side to preserve fresh, vibrant fruit. His goal is to produce Cabernet with purity, finesse, and drinkability, while avoiding rusticity, vegetal character, and hard tannins. When it comes to his Chenin, he makes bone dry, high acid, mineral wines that drink like Chablis young and take on weight slowly over time. Aging takes place in large oval foudres (for the whites) and round foudres and demi-muids (for the reds) in Thierry’s frigid tuffeau cellars below his winery in Varrains. His incredibly diverse terroirs are translated with utter clarity and precision.