Clos Roche Blanche, 2013 Update

It has been a little while since I last provided an update on the wines of Catherine Roussel and Didier Barrouillet, of Clos Roche Blanche. In part this is my own fault, because I met up with them last in 2011 but never got around to publishing my tasting notes; this was principally because I fell ill on returning from the Salon des Vins de Loire that year and I ended up with rather a large backlog of notes as a result; some, I’m afraid, simply fell by the wayside. Then in 2012 I didn’t get to see Catherine and Didier; I would usually meet them and taste their wines at the annual Renaissance event, the biodynamic-organic tasting led by Nicolas Joly and Mark Angeli, but this tasting (and many others) were cut adrift when InterLoire changed the date of the Salon des Vins de Loire. In 2013 I was there (hurrah!), all the dates having returned to ‘normal’, but Catherine and Didier weren’t (boo!); I suspect this may reflect the fact that, having rented out many of their vines, Catherine and Didier now have a reduced surface area to cultivate, and perhaps they don’t have to work as hard at marketing what reduced volumes they have to sell. Maybe.

Clos Roche Blanche

I wrote about Catherine and Didier letting go of large chunks of their vineyard area in my 2010 update; they first sold some to Junko Arai in 2002, and more significantly then went on to rent out 8.5 hectares to Noëlla Morantin in 2009. I am sure Noëlla, who seems to have established quite a reputation and following for herself, would be interested in taking on more vineyards if Catherine and Didier were agreeable. All that would be required would be for them to rent out a little more, or perhaps sell off another large chunk. Indeed, I have been under the impression, ever since they rented out nearly half of their vineyards to Noëlla, that Didier and Catherine were looking to wind down their viticultural activities (another reason why you might not be so interested in turning up to annual tastings perhaps). I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next couple of years, we see them selling or renting out another huge swathe of vineyards, and we may even see them retiring from winemaking altogether.

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