Certified Organic (Ecocert)
Xavier Weisskopf is one of the new generation of young producers buying into appellations in the Loire that are less developed, enabling his purchase in 2005 of well established old vineyards at Montlouis in Touraine.
Having studied viticulture and oenology at Beaune he worked as cellar-master at Chateau St-Cosme in the southern Rhône before buying his first parcel of 6.8 hectares. He has gradually increasing his holdings to the current 13 ha of vines with 9 ha of vines in Montlouis and 4 ha of vines in Touraine AOC. Montlouis sits across the Loire on the south side from Vouvray and today is a hotbed of innovation. Here 100% Chenin Blanc is planted on similar tuffeau soils to Vouvray, though usually with a bit more sand. The Touraine appellation also produces Chenin Blanc, along with Grolleau for rosé and has some very old Côt (Malbec) and Cabernet Franc plantings. Xavier’s deft touch in the winery is transforming this old-vine material into wines of freshness, vivacity and not least, great value!
The entire estate is certified organic and with most of the vineyards being planted pre-1940 the yields are naturally low and all harvesting is done by hand. Xavier is looking for wines that are fresh, mineral and long so the wines are made with a light touch and little or no SO2 during vinification. Bottled with a minimal, yet prudent level of SO2, the finished wines show vibrant aromatics and a level of detail rarely seen from these appellations.
2014 Le Rocher des Violettes Montlouis Pétillant Originel (crown seal)
This wine was bottled in November 2014 and is kept on lees and disgorged to order. Our stock was disgorged in November 2017, so it has spent a full 36 months on lees. As such, it's drinking even better now than when we tasted it in January.
'Xavier is one of a handful of vignerons in the Montlouis appellation adhering to the Pétillant Originel regulations for a higher quality wine than just Pétillant. I think this is the first time he has been able to produce this cuvée in several vintages, 2012 and 2013 having been a little parsimonious. It is méthode ancestrale, obviously, the wine carrying between 12 and 13 g/l when it went into the bottle. It spent 25 months sur lattes, and had no dosage at disgorgement. A beautiful nose here, all confit apples, with a little brûlée caramelisation. The palate is very dry though, tense even, with a chalky substance, fresh and bright, with a fine mousse and defining acidity. A delicately grippy style, showing filigree detail, and a sour, pithy and fresh finish. Attractive.' 94 points, Chris Kissack, winedoctor.com, February 2017.
2016 Chenin blanc (vin de France)
100% Chenin blanc from just across the Loire river around Noizay towards the east of the Vouvray appellation. Elevage in older barriques giving texture and depth while keeping freshness and poise. Shows excellent depth typical of Vouvray and shows similar lightness of touch in handling.
‘This bottling hails from vines in Vouvray and I am not sure why it was not given the appellation. In any event, the wine is excellent, offering up a classic nose of apple, quince, chalky minerality, a bit of orange peel, dried flowers and a just a whisper of lanolin in the upper register. On the palate the wine is crisp, full-bodied and finished as a Sec, with a fine core, good
acids and grip, fine focus and a long, ripe and complex finish. This is very good juice. 2018-2040. 91.’ John Gilman - View from the Cellar, October 2018
2015 Le Rocher des Violettes Montlouis Touche Mitaine
100% Chenin blanc, hand-picked in successive tries from 4ha of vines averaging 35 years old and planted at 6500 vines/ha. Produced from low yields of just 48hl/ha and cool-fermented in stainless steel, followed by a 7 month elevage in 75% old oak and 25% stainless steel. Certified organic viticulture.
'From a 3.5-hectare parcel of Chenin Blanc vines. This was vinified in 220-litre barrels, all old oak. It starts with a salty fresh nose, with some lightly dried citrus fruits. The palate is fresh, but with evident fruit confidence, especially mirabelle plum, laced with a lightly sherbetty minerality. The overall feel is cool, the delicately salted fruits cut with a fine acid backbone. A nicely defined and challenging substance, certainly bitter, on the finish. Very nicely composed. Well done.' 93 points, Chris Kissack, winedoctor.com, February 2017.
‘The 2015 Montlouis “Touche-Mitaine” from Le Rocher des Violettes is a Sec bottling, though there is no mention of this on the label. The wine is young and promising, offering up scents of quince, lanolin, a bit of chalk dust, dried flowers and citrus peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, young and very nicely balanced, with a fine core, bright acids and lovely soil signature on the backend. The finish is long and focused, but also still quite primary, and more complexity will emerge here with extended bottle age. Fine juice. 2016-2030+. 92.’ John Gilman - View from the Cellar, November 2016
2013 Le Rocher des Violettes Montlouis Negrette
100% Chenin blanc, hand-picked in successive tries from a very old, 2ha vineyard around 90 years old and planted at 7800 vines/ha. Produced from very low yields of just 30hl/ha and barrel-fermented with ambient yeast, followed by an 11 month elevage in 500 litre oak (30% new). Certified organic viticulture.
'From old vines, aged 90 years, with élevage in some new demi-muids plus older barriques, aged 5-6 years. A rather restrained character on the nose, with a little trace of honeyed straw which might be the oak coming through, over a layer of very delicate fruit. The palate feels soft, open and loose-knit at the moment, although there is some nice acidity beneath the rather delicate blanket of fruit.' 90 points, Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, February 2015.
‘The 2013 Montlouis “Négrette” from Xavier Weisskopf is finished as a Sec, though I do not see this anywhere on the front or back labels. The bouquet is still youthful, but precise and vibrant, offering up notes of quince, lemon peel, chalky soil tones, lanolin and a top-note of white flowers. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied and nicely soil-driven, with good, not great depth at the core, zesty acids and lovely focus and grip on the long and nascently complex finish. This wine is approachable today, but still a bit buttoned up behind its girdle of acidity at the present time, and it will be even better with a bit more bottle age. A very strong example of the vintage. 2018-2030+. 90.’ John Gilman - View from the Cellar, November 2016
2015 Le Rocher des Violettes Côt Vieilles Vignes
100% Malbec, hand-picked from 1.8ha of old vines, planted in 1918, 1970 and 1991 at 7800 vines/ha. Produced from very low yields of just 25hl/ha and whole-bunch fermented with ambient yeast in one tronconique (upright truncated cone) oak vat for 3 weeks, followed by 12 months elevage in the same vat. Certified organic viticulture.
‘The 2015 Côt “Vieilles Vignes” from Xavier Weisskopf is another very stylish and svelte vin rouge, coming in at 12.5 percent and offering up a superb nose of cassis, black cherries, cigar
smoke, dark soil tones, espresso and a touch of tree bark in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and rock solid at the core, with fine delineation and balance, moderate, ripe tannins and impressive grip on the long, complex finish. This is high class malbec and a great value! 2021-2045. 90+.’ John Gilman - View from the Cellar, October 2018
2015 Le Rocher des Violettes Touraine Cabernet Franc
100% Cabernet Franc, hand-picked from 1ha of old vines averaging 40 years old. Produced from very low yields of just 30hl/ha, 100% de-stemmed and naturally fermented in one tronconique (upright truncated cone) oak vat for 3 weeks, followed by 12 months elevage in seasoned oak barriques. Vinified like Burgundy, the resulting wine is perfumed, fresh and bright, with an overt violet signature so typical of the very best Cabernet Franc. Finishing with fine silky tannins, it’s totally delicious and shows how great Cabernet Franc can be in the right hands. Certified organic viticulture.
‘This has a fresh core of crushed cherry and cassis flavors, laced with bay leaf and lavender notes and backed by a light chalky spine.’ 89 points, James Molesworth, WineSpectator.com, July 2017.
2016 Le Rocher des Violettes Touraine Cabernet Franc
’The 2016 Touraine Rouge Cabernet Franc from Xavier Weisskopf is really a lovely wine on both the nose and palate. It is quite ripe for Touraine rouge, coming in at 13.5 percent octane
in this vintage and offers up a beautifully expressive nose of black cherries, cassis, cigar ash, a touch of menthol, dark soil tones and a bit of upper register tree bark. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and well-balanced, with a good core of fruit, a bit of ripe tannin and impressive length and grip on the complex and focused finish. This is very well-made wine. 2018-2030+. 89+.’ John Gilman - View from the Cellar, October 2018