François Roussier, Clos de Coulaine (1812)  


François Roussier with Roy Richards, September 2002

The property has been in the ownership of the Roussier family since 1812 and takes its name from Jean de Coulaine who first grew vines here in the 14th century. One of six brothers, François Roussier’s great grandfather first established Breton (Cabernet Franc) in the region from cuttings he had bought back from a visit to Bourgueil, which partly explains why over half the vineyard at Coulaine is planted to the variety. Successive generations have all been responsible for replenishing the vineyards, ensuring a higher than average vine age. The last significant plantings of Cabernet Franc were in 1942. However, François was to be the last Roussier to make wine at Coulaine, retiring after the 1991 harvest. Since then, the vines have been leased to Claude Papin with the grapes being trucked across the Loire to Château Pierre-Bise. However, the old cave at Coulaine recently enjoyed a new lease of life with Eric Morgat moving in to vinify his 2007 vintage, much to Mme Roussier’s delight. François Roussier died on 12th June 2008.

Wine Overview:  
The wines here were all raised in an old earth covered ground floor cellar. Both white and red wines would spend a year in barrel before vacating for the successive vintage. Roussier employed a full time chef de cave, a local man, Lucien Rousseau, clearly a diligent worker judging by the old hand drawn chart that hangs in the cellar which documents the rainfall of every vintage in Savennières between 1950 and 1999.

The Wines:  

1991 Clos de Coulaine  
The last vintage produced in the Coulaine cellar before Roussier retired. Bright. Pale bronze. Very delicate nose with faint toffee apples and pears. More Vouvray than Savennières. Bright acidity to the palate. Although a touch dilute and hollow it retains good, fresh acidity. Quite lean, and showing some advanced flavours. This is unlikely to improve. Drink up. (06/04)

1990 Clos de Coulaine
Mid depth. Bronze. Toffee/mocha nose. Oxidised character. Tired, with the palate showing the same. Good texture and very firm acid. Dead yeast flavour with macadamia nuts. Short and autolytic flavours to the finish. Sadly past its best. (06/04)

1989 Clos de Coulaine  
Polished. Mid-depth. Orange-gold. Mature nose with a savoury edge. Madeira-like and a little cheesy and earthy and starting to look tired. Marmite too on the nose. Mid-full on entry. Rich and rounded, with more savoury flavours. Intense and persistent, it is distinctly mature and shows some ripeness with noticeable alcohol on the finish. It feels a bit ‘hot’. Mature and needs drinking up. (04/09)

1988 Clos de Coulaine  
Broad yet quiet nose with some faint marzipan. Very dry, mineral and stony on the palate. Austere and pretty rustic in style. Decent structure; it builds well in the mouth. This could hold further. (06/04)

1986 Clos de Coulaine  
Light appearance. Luminous green. Very reduced nose. Mineral and tight on the palate. The reduction should aid as a preservative, although could equally out-live the wines potential to ever fully mature. Very lean with citrus/lime profile. Despite the reduction issue, this is authentic and has the potential to evolve. Very long. (06/04)

1986 Clos de Coulaine Demi-Sec                                                                        
Youthful green hints. Rich, honeyed nose displaying a hint of coconut. Very delicate but attractive. Gentle and ethereal. Perfect balance with great length and persistence. Mineral, with some citrus. This is delicious now, but could be expected to evolve further. Lovely. (06/04)

1985 Clos de Coulaine  
Mid depth. Very delicate nose. Faint apples and pears. Very light honey. Mineral, delicate palate entry. Excellent focus. Very juicy. Delicious. Very persistent. ‘A point’, but will continue to evolve. (06/04)

1983 Clos de Coulaine  
Light, delicate, mineral nose. Some stale marzipan. Faintly reduced on the nose. The palate is better; lean with juicy, firm acidity. Good grip. Typical. Drinking now. Unlikely to benefit with further ageing. (06/04)

1975 Clos de Coulaine  
Mid depth. Green hints. Quince, orange peel and thyme. Delicate. Some terpines and evidence of ‘dry’ botrytis. Tired on the palate with lean acidity. Unbalanced and drying out. Drink up quickly. (06/04)

1983 Anjou Rouge  
This spent 18 months in barrel prior to bottling. Even after some 25 years this still appears youthful. Mid depth red with a bright, fresh red fruit nose. A true and pure expression of Cabernet Franc. Leafy and a touch herbal, it shows the ripeness of a warmer year. This is drinking well now, and will continue to hold and possibly even improve. (04/08)  

1989 Anjou Rouge
M
id-full. Just showing some maturity to the rim, but still pretty profound for the variety. The nose is lovely, with a classic mature Cabernet Franc aromas; lead pencils, and suitably stalky, but not unripe. Just a little confit, showing the ripeness of the vintage. Very good concentration on entry. Complex and delicate, but with an inky quality. This is still quite firm, with the tannins still present, and there is some stalkyness on the finish. The acidity appears high on the finish and it is a little rustic and over-extracted. The nose is prettier than the palate. It needs food to counteract the tannin and acidity. This could be expected to age further. (10/09)  

1990 Anjou Rouge
Dull appearance. Mid depth and now showing its age. The nose is clean, if a little herbal, but good weight and focus. The palate is more earthy; it builds well and has good grip. The tannins are still noticeable and the wine somewhat over-extracted and bitter to the finish. This should keep, but it won't improve. (04/10)

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