Wise Beyond Its Years

Roches

Thierry Germain
Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny
2006

Brilliant purple, this wine is a jewel in a glass. I pour, and smell first—what? Herbs, maybe, and hay; the smell of sunwashed landscape, the smell of summer. A few minutes pass. I smell more now: Tahitian vanilla, wild animals, rusted tools and wooden doors. It smells young but old, green but wise. I sip, finally. It's coy and mercurial. It doesn't want me, yet.

I wait, then smell again, taste again. Now there's black fruit and ripe wild berries, with a smoky, stony ground deep beneath.

We're ten minutes in, this wine and I, and I've sipped twice.

Now it begins to unfold. The nose is opening, the palate softening, but it's still demure. This wine says "I'm serious." It says "I'm fragile, be gentle." It says "don't mess with me." It says "come in."

It's biodynamic. I'm not surprised. There are deep currents running through it, skeins of color and light woven from stones and sun and water. This wine is earth in a glass. 

Twenty minutes, four or five sips. It finally yields, fruit and earth swinging together with ringing clarity. It won't stop changing, but I'll stop here.

Price: $24
Drinks like: $30
Bang for the buck: 125%

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