Thierry Germain Saumur-Champigny Franc de Pied 2021


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“The 2021 Franc de Pied is mellow and supple yet precise, with its line of 2021 vintage acidity piercing its core and pulling it tight. Savory and herbal, it shows aromas reminiscent of fennel, wormwood, black olives and violets. It has a floaty-light, gentle nature, a sense of roundness and notable purity of fruit, which all elevate it above the crowd. The delicate extraction of fine tannins is commendable. While the 2021 is neither as long as in the previous vintage nor as deep, it is still in the upper echelon of what could be produced in 2021. Drinking window: 2023-2033. 93 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 range of wines from Domaine des Roches Neuves has the transparency, delicacy and ease you encounter too infrequently. Red wine represents the majority of production at this estate, with vineyards scattered around the appellation. Still, a lightness of touch and purity of fruit are common threads, no matter the soil type or orientation. Even at the ‘entry-level’ Saumur Champigny, whose label changes color every year just to keep us confused, the hands-off hand of Germain 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 farming, the results speak for themselves.

While Louis Germain, Thierry’s son, called 2021 a nightmare, the resulting wines are some of the best in the region: charming, balanced and delicately poised. But that should be expected from this domaine.”

Rebecca Gibb, Vinous (01/24)