Jean Pierre Robinot - 2017 Iris
Jean-Pierre Robinot is one of the most famed peoples of the wine world, and rightly so. He’s in his early 70s with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager. He had one of the first natural wine bars in Paris, called l’Ange Vin, and, while living in Paris also was one of the founders of Rouge et Blanc, still one of France’s most influential wine magazines. But he eventually sold the bar and in 2000 bought a vineyard, just out of the village of Chahaignes, where he now lives. It’s also where he grew up.
All his wines are fermented naturally (often very slowly over more than a year) and his still wines in old barrels in humid cellars cut directly into the hills many years ago, some so old that it’s hard to believe that they stay together. He is patient, holding wines in barrel until he believes they are ready, which can sometimes be more than 5 years.
Jean-Pierre has two domaines that he releases his wines under. The first in Les Vignes de l’Ange Vin where the wines are made from plots of vines that he owns and manages organically and biodynamically. His other wines are released under the L’Opera des Vins label. Here he buys the grapes from friends who also manage their vineyards in the same way as Jean-Pierre. He has always had the patience to wait until the wine is ready to release rather than rushing it to the market. And the results show the wisdom of that approach. That being said, if you cellar the wines you'll be immensely rewarded - the sparklings included.
Chenin Blanc is one of the best grapes available for producing long-lasting, age-worthy wines. The vines also react to the prevailing soil types, taking on the minerality of the soils quite strongly if they are not treated with sprays which destroy the microbes and funghi in the soil.
This Chenin Blanc benefits from the Cretaceous soils in the Loir Valley which glint with red from the flint embedded within the underlying limestone. The vines are now over 60 years old and the soil comprises clay made from decomposed red flint sitting over chalky limestone. The result is a profound white wine that is already drinking beautifully, but will continue to improve for many years.
There is no sulphur added to this wine at any stage.
Varietal Chenin Blanc || Region Loire Valley, France || ABV 12% || Vol 750mL