Summer of Chenin: Rocher des Violettes

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Vigneron Xavier Weisskopf was born in 1979 in Beauvais. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, he continued studying in order to prepare a Chablis BTS “culture protection”. In Burgundy, he fell in love with the process of wine and decided to become a winemaker. He left to attend the wine school in Beaune in 2000. There he received a degree in viticulture and oenology. In 2001, he became a cellar master in Gigondas, in the Côtes du Rhône for Château Saint Cosme. With three years experience there, he decided to settle in the Loire Valley’s Montlouis sur Loire.

He has farmed his property organically since 2012. He writes, ‘Organic wines are not really effective. We must speak of a wine from organic viticulture,’ emphasizing the entire picture from vine to wine.

The cellar dating from the fifteenth century is located in the old quarries of limestone extraction, carved into the rock at the heart of the town of Amboise. There is an old wine press dating from the seventeenth century. For each parcel, the grapes are pressed and vinified separately. The wines are raised in oak barrels from Allier or in stainless steel tanks for 6 to 24 months depending on the vintage. They are then bottled and labeled in the cellar.

For centuries, the white Pineau wine produced on both sides of the Loire, in Montlouis and Vouvray, was known as “Vouvray wine”. It was only when the Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) were defined that Montlouis, aware of its singular nature, decided to break free and become an independent village appellation.

At the top of the headland, the soil is made up of clay overlaid with sand blown there from the Loire and Cher rivers, and with coarse pieces of flint and chalk. Limestone (Turonian chalk) is always within reach of the roots. It’s surrounded by natural geographical borders (the River Loire to the North, the River Cher to the South and the hill forests of Amboise in the East), Montlouis-sur-Loire enjoys particularly mild weather conditions : the influence of the ocean comes in along the two wide open valleys, stimulating the over-ripening of the grapes and producing highly mature dry white wines. The creation of tender (off-dry) and sweet wines depends on climatic variations – the vintage year is a decisive factor.

Growing Region:  Montlouis-sur-Loire, Touraine, Loire Valley, France.

Terroir:  80-year-old vines from a 2.5-acre plot “Borderies.“  Tuffeau subsoil with sandy clay topsoil.

Grapes:  100% Chenin Blanc, partly dried on the vine by the sun and best grapes selected in “triés”.

Viticulture:  Organic.

Vinification:  Native yeast fermented and raised for 6 months in 600L barrels, 2nd or 3rd use.

Tasting notes:  Off-dry, with great tension between acidity, fruit and salinity.  Notes of acacia, quince, fresh ginger and flint.  Great for pairing with a wide variety of dishes.