Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wine of the Week - Wilfrid Rousse Chinon

I drink quite a bit of red wine from Chinon, but mostly the wines of one producer, Bernard Baudry. This wasn't always the case. I used to buy and drink wines by many different Chinon producers, but I learned after a while that I like Baudry's wines much more than the others, and now I rarely stray. I just checked my cellar notes and 19 out the last 23 bottles of Chinon that I drank at home were Baudry wines.

I don't want to be one of those people who always go to the same restaurant, and then always order the same dish. Is that what I've become, with Chinon? There's nothing wrong with drinking what you like, but it's important to try new things, to stay informed, to step away from what is well known from time to time. Even if the results are not so satisfying, the fun is in the experimentation.

Well, I am happy to report that I've found a Chinon producer who's wine I like enough to purchase - Wilfrid Rousse. Rousse is a new producer who established the estate in 1987 in the village of Savigny-en-Véron, not far from Chinon itself. Farming is organic, although the estate is not yet certified. Rousse allows natural ground cover on some plots, and plows others. Yields are kept at 45 hl/ha maximum, and wines are fermented in tank. This is a vigneron who is still establishing himself, and who seems to be doing the right things in the vineyards and in the cellar.

I've had two different cuvées with meals, and I've also tasted through the whole lineup, and I really like the wines. They are in the concentrated style, modern in their total lack of rusticity and greeness, but old school in their mineral-driven and transparent expression of terroir. There are five red cuvées and a rosé, each based on different soils. perhaps the best value in the portfolio is the youngest wine, fresh and fruity Les Galuches.

2008 Wilfrid Rousse Chinon Les Galuches, $16, Savio Soares Selections. The vines are planted in sandy gravelly soils, and are not older than 15 years. This wine is bottled in the spring after the harvest, and although it is a fruity and delicious wine, it is not a simple wine. The sense of soil is prominent on the nose and on the palate. Gravel and graphite on the nose, some dark fruit, the tiniest amount of burnt earth too. Really lovely on the palate, well balanced, redolent of iron and blood, ripe fruit, and bright acidity. A great example of modern Chinon - nicely ripe and extracted, and still definitely of its place. This doesn't have the depth of Baudry's Les Granges, but it is a delicious wine with lovely fruit, and it has a great gravelly character.

I'm not trading in all of my Baudry and replacing it with Rousse's wines, but I will very happily drink this wine or the other Rousse cuvées when I see them. They are delicious, serious wines, and worth trying.

1 comment:

Clementine said...

Ha! I pretty much only drink Baudry too, your post reassures me I'm not missing too much. I was in Bourgueil this weekend and got a chance to try Wilfrid Rousse at the lovely farmhouse wine bar Café de la Promenade, his entry level Les Puys compares well to Baudry's Les Granges, lovely bright fruit. They told me he wasn't organic however, so I reading your post I now regret not having bought more of his stuff. I can't seem to verify this online, you're sure he's in conversion biologique? Highly recommended in any case, thanks for the post!