Adèle Rouzé Quincy 2015
I can not bring myself to pretend that I was thinking of Émile Zola (1840 - 1902) as I stood tasting with Adèle Rouzé. I was, of course, focused entirely on Adèle, her story, and the latest vintage of her singular cloistered cuvée. Nevertheless, as I reflect on that tasting, with a glass of her 2015 Quincy germanely in hand, one of his more famous quotes does spring to mind.
"Tis better to plumb the depths of unity than forever scratch the surface of variety."
It is easy to scratch the surface of anything in wine. The truth is, the world of wine has already been extensively mapped for us. If we wish a glass of Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, it isn't difficult to find a recommendation for a wine from the great domaines of the region, names like Louis-Benjamin Dagueneau or Michel Redde in Pouilly-Fumé, Henri Bourgeois or Alphonse Mellot in Sancerre, Denis Jamain in Reuilly or Philippe Gilbert in Menetou-Salon. They all make brilliant wines, and although some are more famed than others they all have their place on the map. It's why I profiled these domaines, and many others, so many years ago; indeed, my profile of Henri Bourgeois is one of the older ones on this website, first published back in 2004 (don't worry, it has been considerably updated and expanded since then).
But of course there is much that remains to be discovered in this region, provided we follow Zola's advice and plumb the depths. A couple of months ago I spent some time seeking out new names, especially in the more peripheral appellations such as Quincy, Reuilly and the too-easily overlooked Coteaux du Giennois. And I have a return trip planned for July, when I will mix up some of the aforementioned well-mapped names with some less familiar ones, further from the beaten track. But sticking with my more recent tastings, one name that stood for me out was Adèle Rouzé.
Adèle's story is not a complicated one; born into a winemaking family, after completing her studies of oenology in Bordeaux she moved back home to Quincy, and her parents carved off a 4-hectare slice of their domaine and gave it to her to work with. The fact that this was back in 2003, fourteen years ago, only proves how difficult it is to be discovered in a world which prefers, sometimes, to just scrape the surface. The rest of the family domaine remained with her father, Jacques Rouzé (a very familiar name to quality-minded drinkers of Quincy I am sure), and it appears now to be in the hands of Adèle's brother, Côme. I will profile both some time soon (once I get all that 2016 Bordeaux out of the way) but for the moment this brief note will hopefully tide the Loire fans over.
Once in the glass the 2015 Quincy from Adèle Rouzé displays an unassuming pale straw hue, nothing remarkable, but aromatically it is really quite charming, with scents of citrus pith and white peach, wrapped up in a lightly peppery and fresh style. This character continues onto the palate which is cool and mildly pungent, its acid-fresh middle washed with citrus zest, orange blossom and a certain cool-climate bitterness. Overall this is a lovely example of Sauvignon Blanc, classically styled and certain to be a crowd pleaser, and yet it feels polished and harmonious too, and certainly pushes enough aromatic buttons for me to pull the cork on another bottle. And dare I suggest it offers superb value too? It is a wine Émile Zola, or even the more pauperish ingenues of Les Rougon-Macquart, could afford to drink. 16.5/20
A more detailed look at the wines of Adèle Rouzé will be one of many new profiles for the Centre region coming up, the others include Domaine Roux, Domaine Lecomte, Jacques Rouzé, Catherine et Michel Langlois, Julien et Clément Raimbault (a personal recommendation from Alphonse Mellot Senior, as it happens), Gitton Père and one or two (or three or four) others. (17/4/17)