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[brin de chèvre]Le Clos du Tue-Bœuf 2010 Touraine “Le Brin de Chèvre” (Loire) — Broad horizons slashed by invisible razors, four-dimensional sand crystals, fractal depths. The complexity unrolls in non-linear ways, and a few degrees of warming reveal a completely different wine than the one whose cork was pulled straight from the fridge. Exciting and fascinating. (5/16)

Bill Roussel

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2007 Touraine “Cuvée Gamay” (Loire) – Clinging, barely, to the tatters of a life shortened by a closure insufficient to the task. There are some lovely red soil aromatics, but everything around and beneath them has fallen into ruin. (3/12)

Gamaybe not

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2007 Touraine “Cuvée Gamay” (Loire) – Probably the best of a bad lot, by which I don’t mean that the wine was ever bad, but that the accidental decision to cellar it without realizing the cork was synthetic has led to a lot of dumped wine. This, at least, clings to a sharp cranberried minerality, and there’s a hint of the generosity that was in the finish. Like the others, though, it’s attenuated and shrieking with bared acidity. Thankfully, there’s no more. (2/12)

Well-worn Touraine

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2004 Touraine Sauvignon (Loire) – Probably too old. Then again, maybe not. It’s a little pre-oxidized, but the fulsomeness of it is richly appealing, and while there’s precious little that could be tied to the variety here, there’s rather a lot of Touraine-ity. Wet chalk, mostly, but also a sloped minerality that flows always-downward in a very linear sort of way. I love this, but its appeal is clinging to a slender thread. (12/11)

Cuvée corpse

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2005 Touraine “Cuvée Gamay” (Loire) – Completely dead. Blame the plastic plug. (10/11)

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2005 Touraine “Cuvée Gamay” (Loire) – Not entirely dead, but stripped and battery-acid-ish, with just a hint of linear cranberry lingering. (10/11)

Greco-Roman Rousseling

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2007 Touraine “Cuvée Gamay” (Loire) – I like these young about 50% of the time, thinking the other half insufficient, and am repeatedly proven wrong by even a little bit of maturation (which is all I’ll allow under this closure), so my generalized displeasure with this bottle should be taken to mean absolutely nothing. It’s the tangy red fruit and earth that make the wine, and the grating, flaky, stale peppercorns and overaged herbs that ruin it. And the next bottle will be spectacular. I’m blaming taster variation rather than any of the usual suspects. (8/10)

Barbou the elephant

Barbou “Domaine des Corbillières” 2009 Touraine Sauvignon (Loire) – A little more exotically-fruited than most Touraine sauvignon I’ve had, but not pushed into full Marlborough territory, or even modernistic Sancerrois experimentations. Still soil-chalky, still pleasantly green, still rindy. Somewhat insignificant, but then again not everything has to be important. (8/10)

Roche motel

Roussel & Barrouillet “Clos Roche Blanche” 2007 Touraine “Cuvée Gamay” (Loire) – Cedar shavings, grey earth, particulate iced pinkfruit, some deeper raspberry/cranberry tones, and needlepoint structure. A very precise wine. It may be showing a little bit of fray due to the closure. (7/10)


Denis 1989 Touraine-Azay-le-Rideau Vignes de la Gaillarderie Sec (Loire) – Dirty – in a good way – and fairly high in acid. Unmistakably maturing chenin, yet the minerality is as much aluminum and tin as chalk. Another slight shift is from honeysuckle to pollen-dusted stone fruit skin. So how, exactly, is it “unmistakably chenin?” I’m not sure, but there’s just something about the weight, palate impression, and generally Touraine-evocative aromatics that announce “chenin” with clarity and decision. It’s never wise to suggest that a Loire chenin’s nearing the end of it’s life, and yet I don’t know that this has all that much more development left in it. (Emphasis, in that last sentence, is on the “I don’t know” more than the rest.) (7/09)

A nice game of Bulles

Jean-François Mérieau Touraine “Bulles” (Loire) – 80% chenin blanc, 20% chardonnay, sparkling. A little bigger than average Loire sparklers, a little gauzier than the best Loire sparklers. Chalk and aspirin, yes. A hint of honeysuckle? If so, it’s dried out…more like bee pollen, really, with a little bit of the wax in the mix as well. I’d call this more pétillant than sparkling, but its delicacy is here a virtue, allowing a very quiet wine to state its case. Nice. I wouldn’t really go beyond that, but “nice” is definite. (4/09)