Le Rocher des Violettes
In my earliest attempts to understand Montlouis, looking beyond the two obvious icons of the appellation, namely François Chidaine and Jacky Blot, I discovered several names of note, but perhaps one of the most exciting was Xavier Weisskopf, of Le Rocher des Violettes. His wines, crystal-pure, vibrant, largely fermented in oak yet barely touched by it, pithy and long, were revelations. His red wines, all made under the Touraine appellation, were also remarkably good.
Quite a few years on from that initial encounter, Xavier Weisskopf still makes some of my favourite wines in these two appellations, and he is easily the equal of more famous names, some of which I mention here. In this profile I look first at the domaine’s brief history, before examining in detail the vineyards and winemaking.
Xavier Weisskopf (pictured above), the proprietor of Le Rocher des Violettes, does not hail from a long line of vignerons; instead he is the latest in a string of recent arrivals to viticulture, and to the Loire. Nevertheless he and his ilk, led in spirit by the likes of François Chidaine and Jacky Blot, have breathed new life into the once-sorry Montlouis appellation. Having been born in Beauvais near Rouen in northern France, some distance from the nearest vineyards, I think it is fair to say that Xavier’s early years were not touched by the vine. It was only when, having completed his baccalauréat, he moved on to higher education in Chablis, that he first encountered the vine and viticulture. Entranced by his new discovery he moved deeper into Burgundy territory, subsequently enrolling at Beaune in order to study viticulture and oenology.