Thierry Germain Saumur-Champigny Franc de Pied 2020


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“The 2020 Franc de Pied is incredibly reductive when it was first opened and needed a lot of time and a swirl with a copper coin. It you can be patient (5 minutes with a penny in your glass, or your currency’s equivalent), it’s worth the wait. It reveals itself to be a richly fruited, savory style that fills the mouth with a balloon of chalky silkiness. The limestone element really shows itself on the long finish, all finely grained texture and sinew. As you’d hope from Saumur-Champigny, there’s no sense of weight or heft. Delectable now but has the structure to develop over the coming two decades. Drinking window: 2022-2039. 94 points

Thierry Germain might be a Bordelais by birth, but having ended up in Saumur-Champigny “par hasard,” he is now one of the appellation’s leading lights. The wines from Domaine des Roches Neuves have a transparency, delicacy, and ease that you encounter too infrequently. Red wine represents the majority of production at this estate, which owns vineyards scattered around the appellation, but lightness of touch and purity of fruit are common threads no matter the soil type or orientation. Even in the “entry-level” Saumur-Champigny, whose label changes color every year just to keep us confused, the hands-off approach is clear. You’re sure to be indoctrinated in the ways of biodynamics if you encounter the affable Germain, but whatever your thoughts on this method of farming, the results speak for themselves. Readers will find the wines on the market comparatively early. “A wine that is young should be good all its life – you shouldn’t have to wait five years; it’s like missing the first five years of child’s life.””

Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (08/22)