Domaine de Rocheville
Situated atop an escarpment overlooking the village of Parnay and the Loire river is the picturesque, modern, and yet classically built winery of Domaine de Rocheville. Upon arriving at the Domaine, which was built in 2013, it stands out in its modern design amongst the 11th century churches and ancient mills surrounding its borders. While being modern in design, Phillipe Porché, proprietor and winemaker at the Domaine, pointed out that it was constructed with the same materials as these ancient buildings, large solid blocks cut out of the tuffeau that is synonymous with the wines of the Loire, and constructed without the use of mortar of any kind. Classic indeed. The Porché's acquired the vineyards in 2004, although the vines had been planted for many years, some as old as 80+ years. Straight from the outset, Phillipe employed organic viticulture and winery practices with minimal sulphur added and a gentle touch in the winery. Domaine de Rocheville seeks to express the terroir of each sight as their line up of wines is mostly separated, not only by winemaking technique, but also vineyard sight. The Domaine carries a Terra Vitus certification, a group of over 900 grower/winemakers that are dedicated to preserving the health of vines and humans alike, while expressing the terroir of their respective region and eliminating chemical usage. In speaking with Phillipe, it is easy to feel his enthusiasm and immense passion for what he does, and the land that provides him the opportunity to craft such beautiful wines.
The estate is largely planted with Cabernet Franc as well as some Chenin Blanc. The vines vary in age, with the average being about 40, all of which are farmed completely organic and at low yields. A conscientious schedule of “vendange vert” ensures fully ripe fruit come the precious harvest time, which is completed by hand with a well trained staff (a part of the Terra Vitus certification). Once harvested, the same attention to detail is paid at the winery. For the Chenin, the grapes are slowly and gently pressed pneumatically to preserve the delicacy of the grape while extracting all of the complexities that will develop through each step of the process. With the majority of the fruit harvested being Cabernet Franc, they too go through a rigorous process of sorting, de-stemming, and sorting another two times before being fermented in either stainless steel, large format French oak “foudre” or French oak barrique. The cuvées will then be separated, some being left in stainless steel for the remainder of its élevage while a small portion remains in foudre and French barrique to make their top cuvées, “Le Roi" and “Le Fou de Roi" made exclusively from very old plantings, and the later only in outstanding vintages.
2013 La Dame - Saumur Blanc - 100% Chenin Blanc
The white wines of Domaine de Rocheville are truly delightful. Expressing wonderful stone fruit and a citrus forward nose with aromas of white flower and vanilla and hints of honey that I suspect will further reveal themselves after some time in the cellar. Up front flavours of white peach and lemon with a hint of orange zest give way to a drip of raw honey on the finish. With firm structure and a pleasant balance, La Dame spends 9 months in French oak barrels on fine lees bringing a round mouth filling texture. This wine provides a wide assortment of food pairing options with its refreshing acidity and weighted mouth feel.
2015 Le Page - Saumur-Champigny - 100% Cabernet Franc
With the majority of their vineyards planted to Cabernet Franc, the diversity is truly impressive that Domaine de Rocheville has achieved throughout their lineup, starting with the surprisingly structured and layered Le Page. The nose is rather aromatic, full of dark berry fruit and an undertone of herbs, fennel leading to purple flower. The palate is well balanced and juicy with more dark berries, this time giving way to spices with a supple texture and a lively acidity. This is a wine that should quickly become a staple in most homes. Vibrant and approachable, yet structured enough to be versatile at the dinner table.
2010 Le Roi - Saumur-Champigny - 100% Cabernet Franc
The 2010 Le Roi is aptly named; a King it certainly resembles. Aging 15 months in French oak casks after a lengthy maceration, Le Roi is a wine with both robust and elegant character. The nose is powerful, rich, and deep with ripe red and black berries, again the aroma of anise comes through yet not as herbal, but rather more liquorice in character with a pleasant sense of harmony. The palate is driven by blackberries, dark cherries and spice leading to a touch of meat wrapped in firm tannin and a long, pleasurable finish echoing toasted spices. Le Roi is a wine meant to develop for some years in the cellar and yet with the gentle treatment in the winery, it possesses the finesse to be enjoyed immediately without regret.