Thierry Germain Saumur-Champigny Les Memoires 2021


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“From vines planted on clay-limestone in 1904, the 2021 Les Mémoires is fragrant, refined and long. It offers up rich concentration within an elegant, rather delicate package. As you’d expect from a wine of this age, it’s youthful and bright, with primary fruit aromas of redcurrant alongside florals, black olive and even a whiff of wood smoke. There’s certainly depth and substance of tannin, but they melt in your mouth. The finish is refined and assured, with scintillating acidity providing a fabulous backbone. Drinking window: 2024-2038. 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 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)