24-year-old Jerome Billard doesn’t make your father’s Chinon. After work at both Château Petrus in Bordeaux and Dominus in California, two of the
world’s most prestigious estates, who would expect him to turn out Cabernet Franc like anyone else in the area?
Domaine la Noblaie is one of the oldest family estates in the Chinon
appellation. With 18 hectares of holdings on hillside vineyards in Ligré, the property sits at almost the highest altitude in the entire AOC with commanding views over the river and the 600 year-old Chinon fortress. To say that Noblaie is a magical place doesn’t even come close to doing it justice.
The property is owned and run today by Francois Billard, an oenologist and former professor of viticulture. Many of today’s hottest winemakers were his former students including the immensely-talented Vincent Ogereau. However, after his son Jerome wrapped up the afore-mentioned internships in Bordeaux, California, and Australia, Francois
has handed over most of the winemaking responsibilities to his extremely able son.
Learn More About Rosé
Rosé (roe-ZAY) A Rosé by Any Other Name Technically, a rosé is an "unfinished red wine," but the term seems so- secondary. Rosé is a different sort of wine, with all the refreshing qualities of a white wine mixed with some characteristics of a red. It can be made from many different grape varietals and in many different regions, the most popular and successful being Southern France, Spain, California & Italy.
Notable Facts Rosé is a wine that goes through the red winemaking process, but is stopped before extracting too many red wine characteristics, a process called saignee. Almost always made from red varietals, the grapes are pressed and the juice sits with the skins for fermentation - but just for a little while - enough time to get a bit of color and a bit of the skin characteristics. Then fermentation continues as a white wine, most often in stainless steel. Rosés are typically ready to drink early - not so much to age. Some popular regions of Rosé are Tavel (an AOC for ONLY rosé wines in the Rhone area of France), other areas of Southern France, Spain, Italy and California. Almost all regions make rosé, and many from different grape varieties (Grenache-based in Spain, France, Australia and South Africa; Sangiovese or Nebbiolo in Italy). Just like red and white wines, rosés can be of different styles - sweet or dry, dark or light - the winemaker and grape variety (or varieties as rosés are often blended) are key. Pink wines have delicious character and are perfect for food. For dryer styles of Rosé, try those from Southern France and Spain, for the sweeter styles, look for White Zinfandel and some other California rosé makers.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Southern France, Spain, Italy, California
Common Descriptors: strawberry, raspberry
Learn More About Loire, France
It's unfortunate that this region is so under appreciated and overlooked - the wines from the Loire Valley are outstanding. They are delicious examples of varietal and soil expression and the wide range of wines is so refreshing. Dry, sweet, sparkling, red, white… all represented here in the Loire. The main white grapes are Chenin Blanc, Muscadet and Sauvignon Blanc. For reds, Cabernet Franc takes center stage but the region also has plantings of Pinot Noir and Gamay. The AC of Cremant de Loire is popular – these are the sparkling wines of the Loire, usually made with Chenin Blanc.
As for which grapes you find in which regions… Starting on the Atlantic Coast and moving east - Muscadet hails from the region of the same name, within the larger Nantes district, right on the Atlantic coast. The wines are dry, citrusy and pleasant, but rarely powerful or intensely aromatic. Just inland from Nantes is Anjou-Samur, home to Savennières, an excellent source of dry Chenin Blanc. To the east is Touraine, where you'll find the popular white region of Vouvray - Chenin Blanc shines in Vouvray, which can be dry, off-dry or sweet – the majority of those found in the states are a lovely and food-friendly off-dry. In the same district, Cabernet Franc makes delicious, delicate and elegant reds from Bourguil and Chinon. Finally, in the Upper Loire area, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé turn out Sauvignon Blancs of razor sharp acidity and minerality.