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Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Le Temps des Cerises 2017

Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Le Temps des Cerises 2017

This weekend I returned from three weeks in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, part tasting trip, part ‘holiday’. I put the last part in quotes because my two weeks at my house near Chinon, supposedly ‘holiday’, seemed to largely consist of taming my overgrown garden. Nobody wants to hear of how many days (yes, days) I spent cutting the grass and weeding the gravel, though, so I will stick to the wine.

I passed my first week in Bordeaux, in order to retaste the 2015 vintage, now that the wines are in bottle. This was a trip I would normally have undertaken some time between October and December last year, but for various reasons I delayed going until now. The advantage of this is that the wines, in most cases, have now been in bottle for at least six months, and they possibly showed better for it. The disadvantage is that I do feel a little late to the party on revisiting this vintage. My trip to reassess the 2016 Bordeaux vintage, once bottled, will be brought back to November or December this year, I think.

Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Le Temps des Cerises 2017

As for the Loire Valley, while I may have spent most of my time wearing gardening gloves, I naturally managed to slip in a few visits to some local domaines. The joy in this region comes largely, for the moment at least, from the red wines (although as I write this the memory of one particular dry Vouvray serves to remind me there are fantastic white wines too). The region has seen an unprecedented run of fine red vintages, with 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 all giving forth wines of excellent quality, from entry-level up to the very top cuvées. The Loire Valley has not seen a run of vintages like this in my memory, the closest being the 2009-2010-2011 triumvirate. Perhaps more significantly, that makes seven excellent red wine vintages out of nine. Carry on like this and my cellar will soon be more red than white.

Having previously only tasted vat and barrel samples I had my first taste of the 2017 vintage from bottle, not only in white but also some entry-level reds, and the 2017 Chinon Le Temps des Cerises, from Domaine de la Noblaie, is a case in point. This is Jérôme Billard’s domaine cuvée, and it takes most of the fruit which he harvests (in red there are two site-specific cuvées at Domaine de la Noblaie, Les Chiens-Chiens and Les Blancs Manteaux, and of course the top selection, Pierre de Tuf). Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this bottle comes from the first of several bottlings Jérôme will undertake. The colour is confident, vibrant, with a crimson rim around a black tulip core. The nose is all about dark and scented fruits, black cherry and blackcurrant, with a floral lift, while the palate conveys the same flavour profile but set in a very tense, acid-framed, fruit-stone texture. It is perfect Chinon for drinking now and over the next few years, perfumed, lightly sinewy, acid-fresh, but with a succulent presence of dark fruits. I urge all drinkers of Chinon to check out the 2017 vintage, and indeed to check out more of Jérôme’s wines, which are not only of fine quality but still offer amazing value. 92/100 (11/6/18)

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