Xavier Weisskopf Le Rocher des Violettes Chenin Blanc 2017
Young dynamic winemaker Xavier Weisskopf obtained a plot of sacred old-vine Chenin Blanc, in the Noizay region of the Loire Valley and began making exciting certified organic wines soon thereafter. Xavier previously went to wine school in Beaune, made wine in Chablis and Gigondas, including with Louis Barruol at Château de Saint Cosme. His goal at his own operation was to make delicious wines of clarity and focus, with great expression of terroir. This is a dry, fuller-bodied 100% Chenin Blanc with just a kiss of oak, that we tasted and positively loved.
HERE'S MORE ON THE PRODUCER:
In January 2005, Xavier bought 22 acres of vines in the Saint Martin le Beau sector of Montlouis and an enormous, raw 15th century stone cellar—originally a quarry dug deep into the Loire’s chalk limestone bank in Amboise. Since that time he has increased his holdings to 32 acres of vines, split between AC Montlouis (22 acres) and AC Touraine (10 acres). The vines are scattered about in various parcels and were planted at different times, but the majority were put into the ground before WWII. There’s Chenin, followed by small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Grolleau for rosé, and Malbec (Cot).
Montlouis faces Vouvray across the broad Loire. These are Touraine’s two great white wine appellations, and both have plateaus where most of the vineyards grow high above the river. Montlouis has somewhat more sand and less clay in its soils and its wines, very generally, can consequently be fresher and straighter, requiring more time in bottle to round out. Vouvray’s advantage in clay favors botrytis, which can add any number of layers of fat to a wine.
The other thing about Montlouis is that it is roughly one-fifth the size of its illustrious neighbor, and until the AC laws created "Montlouis" in 1939 its wines were sold as Vouvray. Ever since, Montlouis has been overshadowed, but these days this underdog AC has become a hotbed for Touraine’s leading young Turks (in part because of less expensive vineyards). Enter Xavier.
He’s a tall, handsome young man who knows what he wants to do and how to go about it. He left the Rhône in favor of the Loire because of his love of Chenin. He plows his rows and doesn’t use chemical or synthetic products (he went completely organic in the spring of 2009). He prunes his younger vines for low yields of 30-35 hectoliters per hectare (the old vines give about 25 hl/ha), and harvests by hand. He favors wood barrels over steel tanks for the exchange of oxygen the former vessels permit, and he’s very careful to preserve fruit without letting oak intrude. Stylistically, he likes his wines to be fresh, mineral, and long rather than fat. He’s very much of a young vigneron to watch.
|Region||France, Loire Valley, Montlouis|