Chateau la Roulerie - Coteaux du Layon 1er Cru Chaume - Blanc - 2017 - 500 ml
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WHAT THE WINEMAKERS ARE SAYING
“100% Chenin Blanc. The botrytized Chenin grapes are picked by hand. The whole process is adapted to the character of the grapes in order to enhance the bouquet and taste as much as possible: careful hand-harvesting, delicate crushing, and cool, slow fermentation. Aging takes place in 400-liter casks for 12 months. The bouquet gradually reveals its complex notes, with at first a flowery blossom then, after aeration, white fruits (peaches, pears, quinces) and grapefruit appear. A slight hint of vanilla at the end reinforces this fine, sweet wine. Richness, smoothness, and persistence are the highlights of this wine.” Philippe Germain
Late harvest Chenin Blanc from the central Loire Valley. Coteaux du Layon is the classic sweet wine of the area. Picked in October with no noble rot, barrel fermented for 2-3 months and bottled at 11 percent. Honeyed and delicate without being cloyingly sweet. Perfect for after dinner, but balanced enough for cheeses courses.
In 1996, Philippe Germain’s father, Bernard, bought Château de Fesles along with Château de la Guimonière and Château de la Roulerie from pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre. Lenôtre had bought these wineries in a fit of enthusiasm in 1991 following the wonderful vintages of 1989 and 1990, which unfortunately were followed by the severely frosted 1991, and very mediocre 1992, 1993, and 1994. Making great sweet wines in the Loire is risky. Fesles and Guimonière were sold off and Bernard kept Château de la Roulerie. In 2004, Philippe took full control and implemented winemaking at the Domaine, after the renovation of all the buildings and installation of the equipment.
The Domaine has a total of 42 hectares, 38 of them planted, divided between La Roulerie and Les Grandes Brosses, for a total of 17 parcels. The vines are planted at a dense 4500 plants per hectare on schistose soils, ideal for fine wine production. The vineyards are all on the slopes and oriented South-Southwest, critical for even ripening in this northerly vineyard. Yields are kept to a low 25-30 hectoliters/hectare.
Dry white wines have only been produced since the beginning of 2000. They were first going through malolactic fermentation, had a little residual sugar, and a strong oak character. The style has since evolved in favor of more balanced whites with higher acidity, more elegance, and discrete oak (Philippe now uses larger barrels, 600 and 700 liters). The wines are lightly filtered but never fined.
Grape: 100% Chenin
Soil: clay and gravelly hillside
Aging: 12 months in 400L barrels
Practices: Organic Certification
Farming/vinification practices: Certified Organic since the 2015 vintage. Since 2011, Philippe has started to convert to biodynamy and face the number of challenges presented by the conversion. The wines are vegan.