Le Rocher des Violettes
Xavier Weisskopf is clearly a star on the rise in the Loire. He produces wonderfully pure wines from of captivating depth and style in the tiny appellation of Montlouis - only 300 hectares and well known for producing great dry and sweet white wines from Chenin grapes.
The small vineyard of 9 hectares was mostly planted before 1940. The oldest vines are now +125 years. The yields are naturally low and all harvesting is done by hand
Xavier is lucky to own a collection of exceptional old vines : Sauvignon (Touraine Sauvignon), Côt (Touraine Red) and Chenin (Montlouis). The entire estate is farmed organically without the use of any chemicals or artificial fertilisers.
The wines are fresh, mineral and long with amazing depth and minerality.
Montlouis faces Vouvray across the broad Loire. These are Touraine’s two great white wine appellations, and both have plateaus where most of the vineyards grow high above the river. Montlouis has somewhat more sand and less clay in its soils and its wines, very generally, can consequently be fresher and straighter, requiring more time in bottle to round out. Vouvray’s advantage in clay favors botrytis, which can add any number of layers of fat to a wine.
"Across the river from Vouvray, the tiny appellation of Montlouis has been home to one of the most amazing and exciting wine revivals of modern France, and at least three Montlouis growers--Blot, Chidaine, and Xavier Weisskopf (of Rocher des Violettes)--are challenging the local qualitative pre-eminence of Vouvray."
David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate
The consistency and accuracy of wines, in both colors, continues to grow and has little equivalent in the region today.
La Revue du Vin’s 2016 guide to Les Meilleurs Vins de France
In a few vintages, he became one of the references of the appellation. His terroirs are planted with old sélection massale vines.
2016 Guide to Wines, Bettane & Desseauve
[Weisskopf] certainly produces some of the finest wines of the appellation of Montlouis.
Joel Payne in Vinous
TOUCHE MITAINE Chenin Montlouis Dry
From a 10-acre parcel named 'Touch of the Mitten' because it’s cold up there during pruning season.
At 40+ years of age, this is Xavier’s youngest parcel of Chenin, growing in limestone flint soil. This is normally raised entirely in older barrels.
The élevage goes for six months with regular lees stirring, after which the wine is bottled to preserve fruit and elegance.
NEGRETTE Chenin Montlouis Dry
This is the old-vine cuvée, brought up in demi-muidbarrels for 18 to 20 months with regular bâtonnage. About 30% of those barrels are new.
The grapes come from two adjacent parcels, one of which is named Négrette, that total 3.7 acres. The topsoil is a mix of sand, clay and limestone, and runs about eighteen inches deep to rest on more than six feet of dense clay, which in turn rests on the tuffeau.
The wine needs aeration in its youth to show its stuff and is best decanted. It is dry, richly layered and textured, and terrifically mineral.
BORDERIES Chenin Montlouis Semi Dry
From a 2.5-acre parcel named Les Borderies, where most of the vines date from 1922 and the average age is 80.
The wine is raised for six months in older demi-muid barrels. The range for residual sugar for demi-sec is 8-30 g/l; Les Borderies stays around 10 g/l, hence the tendre designation, which is the informal class between sec and demi-sec.
COT (Malbec) VIEILLES VIGNES Touraine RED
This comes from two parcels of Malbec totaling 3.5 acres. The vines are all very old, with the oldest section planted in 1891! In ripe years, this is made with up to 100% whole clusters, which helps a lot in avoiding reduction problems. In cooler years, this is de-stemmed (for example, 2014 was entirely de-stemmed; 2015 was entirely whole cluster).
The élevage lasts for roughly six months and takes place in older barrels. This wine is deep, dark and dense, yet surprisingly elegant and floral. Not for the shy of heart.