was the segue for the next morning's voyage to Angers. Somewhere around 10:30 we arrived in Chinon: Domaine Les Roches, and Jérôme Lenoir.
This is a property brought in to the United States by Selection Massale , and known for the very obscure yet commendable and crazy (financially insane, but for drinkers sublime) practice of releasing wines only when the wine is ready. As a result, they have a treasure trove of old vintages.
Jérôme @ work in the cave.
I used to bring these back from France, curious why no one ever imported them. Yes, sometimes the wines were eccentric, bretty, hard. But just as often they are beautiful and priced well enough to take the chance.
This was an extremely soggy winter. The rivers, from the Seine to the Cher, were swollen, and so was the soil. I stepped into a pile of mud and then walked down the tuffeau rock into the cellar, furry, weepy and ancient.
This was an emotional cellar with much history. Gaioz Sopromadze, who just a few days before was having a hard time not pinching the asses of comely women in Paris (they are just so beautiful, he explained) was overcome with sentiment, “My grandfather had 3h of vines. During the ten years after the 1917 revolution everything was taken. They divided our homes, the farmers were stripped of land and given to people who had no idea how to work the land. I hate communism.”
The revolution and the loss was that palpable. And Jerome, to show solidarity, showed them some wine he had made in little ceramic pots that looked more like bombs than qvevri.
And then we settled in to taste. the 2012 chinon that had just finished its malo. To look for when released, the 2011, but you’ll have to wait for a while.
Their current release is 2005, which is showing beautifully. It was bottled in 2011 in two separate bottlings. About $23. Very supple, lifely and silk.
When Jerome opened up a 1989, the Georgians immediately had a reference, Perestroika, they chanted.
Takeaway: the nerve to hold on to wines until they are ready needs to be celebrated. And what's more this domaine known for their cabernet franc, makes brilliant chenin.