You learn a lot about a man by his compost pile. One of the few producers in the appellation of Saumur-Champigny to farm naturally, Thierry Germain is extremely proud of his, reaching into the heart of his compost to show off the smoking debris to visitors. While others are pumping as much synthetic fertilizer into their vineyard as possible to
reach the highest potential yields, Thierry Germain is going the other direction, using his compost only when necessary, and asking the vines to suffer to produce much, much less fruit. The end results are stunning.
Domaine des Roches Neuves has become a benchmark producer from this tiny winemaking region, harvesting
completely by hand in over 30 parcels, all of which are vinified separately. While yields of most properties average
upwards of 60 hectoliters per hectare, Roches Neuves averages just shy of 30, with some bottlings as low as 15. The
difference in flavor, color, ageability, and complexity is enormous. By farming biodynamically and using only limited
amount of natural fertilizers, Thierry is able to “manage” what are, in essence, “wild” vines which produce miniscule
amounts of fruit. One can easily see the difference in the clusters as well as the leaves.
Images Domaine des Roches Neuves (Thierry Germain)