Wilson’s Choice

Wilson’s Choice

Posted on Jul, 19. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

I probably should not be sending an e-mail out on this wine as it is a little too close to my personal palate bent. But after thinking about it, I decided to offer it out to you guys because it represents an odd but great style of wine. In many ways it is to wine what Gueze is to beer. If you are not familiar with Gueze it is an unfruited lambic, a purist style, and is what I believe to be the best style of beer made. Nevertheless it is what my wife calls the ‘dirty feet beer.’

When made correctly I adore Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. The wine I have today is from Thierry Germain and is his 2004 Saumur Champigny. The wine was found as a boarder dweller on a recent end bin list. No one had picked up on it as not many know what great Saumur Champigny is and the few remaining cases had received some extra time to age in the warehouse. That is one of the marks of a great close out for me and so I ordered a case to try.

Upon opening the bottle I was greatly satisfied with the nose and palate. That’s right, greatly satisfied! What can I say, it is not a blow you away kind of wine. What it does have is solid structure, meat and bones, some fruit and a perfect Loire Valley Cab Franc flavor. It is earthy, but not like a Rhone is earthy with bramble, herb and stone. The Franc is earthy with that dry pencil shavings quality, leather tannins and schisty minerality, a forest floor flavor -spicy like wet leaves and walnut pods steaming in the sun, you know that smell. There is fruit in the wine but it is dark and subordinate to these other flavors.

This is a very earthy, dry red wine that is not for every palate, it is the Lapsang Souchong of wines. But if you love that smoky earth flavor, if you know what I am trying to get at here with that style of Loire Franc and you know how good they can be with steaks, burgers and other hearty grilled meats than you will really enjoy this wine as I do. Kevin Sidders was here when I opened the sample, he took a taste and said, well it definitely has that “real wine” thing going on. At first he did not kin to it but before he left he remarked that it was growing on him.

What he means by that ‘real wine’ thing is the style of wine you get when you have a winemaker dedicated to naturally made wines There is a movement towards this style that is called “Real Wine,” there is a lot more to it but I won’t flesh out the details right now. When wines are made like this they can have “other” flavors, the fruit is not always the main goal. Some times it doesn’t go so well but often it does and can be mark of the most incredibly interesting wines available.

Here are some notes about Thierry Germain:

You learn a lot about a man by his compost pile. One of the few
producers in the appellation of Saumur-Champigny to farm naturally,
Thierry Germain is extremely proud of his, reaching into the heart of his
compost to show off the smoking debris to visitors. While others are
pumping as much synthetic fertilizer into their vineyard as possible to
reach the highest potential yields, Thierry Germain is going the other
direction, using his compost only when necessary, and asking the vines to
suffer to produce much, much less fruit. The end results are stunning.
Originally trained in Bordeaux, Thierry brings his sensibility to the noble Cabernet Franc grape to what is arguably some of the most suitable terroir for it in the world, the Saumur-Champigny appellation in the central Loire valley. The special combination of clay, limestone, flint, and alluvial soils helps to produce wines with power and elegance at the same time. When cropped at low levels, these vines produce Cabernet Franc with wonderful purity, length and
precision which can age for decades.

Thierry Germain 2004 Saumur Champigny
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $8.80 • Premier Cru: $10.12 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $14.99
Buy Now!

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