Domaine des Roches Neuves Terres Chaudes Saumur-Champigny 1998

An older Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley.

Some bricking but mostly a rich, dense garnet. The nose is appealing, with sweet hay and a touch of dusty library, plus a bit of mushroom. We’re a long way from fruit bomb land here, the aroma profile being quite angular and savoury. There’s also, perhaps, a hint of brettanomyces here, coming across as a meaty (verging on shitty) note, but it’s certainly subtle enough to slide into the mix without overwhelming anything.

The palate is all about line, slinky elegance and elusiveness. It’s also about fruit, quite sweet really, and unexpected considering the savouriness of the aroma profile. On entry, a cool burst of leather and sweet berry fruit, the latter taking over as the wine moves to the mid-palate. There are also assertive tannins, very fine, a little unevenly distributed, and very drying. Some good complexity here, with a range of barbecued meat type flavours in addition to the core of fruit. Overall, the impression is lean and bright and a little unclean. Leathery notes float over the top of the wine’s finish, which is of good length.

If ever a wine were a matter of taste it would be this one. It’s a bit stinky and I suspect this isn’t terroir-related. If you can get past the faults, though, there’s some interest here, not least a lithe, elegant line that communicates the pleasures of structure better than many wines.

Domaine des Roches Neuves
Price: $NA
Closure: Cork
Date tasted: November 2008

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