RSJ's 30th anniversary: 1980-2010

2010 was a very special year for us as the RSJ Restaurant celebrated its 30th year. We held a number of special events through the year to mark our 30th birthday.

36th Year: 1980-2016

Another milestone with events happening during our 36th anniversary year.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Visits before the Salon des Vins de Loire

30th January 2009

Tom and Jim had very good conditions for the drive from Calais down to Saumur where we had our first visits – Thierry Germain (Domaine des Roches Neuves) and Jean-Pierre Chevallier (Château de Villeneuve). With Thierry we tasted the 2008 Saumur-Champigny and Saumur which, although just babies now, are looking promising. Thierry is continuing to look for more finesse and subtlety in his wines. The high point of our visit was a vertical tasting of Thierry's Marginale, his top Saumur-Champigny, going back to 1993 – the first vintage of this cuvée. The 2006, 2002, 1999 and 1995 were the stars of the tasting.

This rather delayed us so we got to Jean-Pierre a bit late. Fortunately this wasn't a problem as he was with a journalist from Cuisine et vins de France. We didn't taste any 2008s with JP. Instead we tasted some recent vintages. The honeyed and citric 2007 straight Saumur stood out as did the 2006 and 2007 Saumur-Champignys. JP will be releasing just one red in 2007 and this should be excellent value as it will include what would normally go to make up the Vieilles Vignes and Le Grand Clos. JP judged that the quality just wasn't there in 2007 to release his top cuvées.

Vines@Domaine des Roches Neuves

Interestingly both Thierry and Jean-Pierre talked about they way their wine styles have moved away from being influenced by Bordeaux to Burgundy. Although Cabernet Franc is a Bordeaux variety, Thierry and Jean-Pierre, who are very good friends and constantly taste each others wines, now believe that the finesse of Burgundy is more what they want than the power of Bordeaux. Certainly I think the culture of the Loire with its family units has more in common with Burgundy than Bordeaux, especially at the top end. However, one should dismiss their earlier vintages. Le Grand Clos 1996 from Château de Villeneuve, for instance, remains an extremely good wine that is aging very well.

After quickly checking our bags into the Hotel du Mail, our hotel of choice when in Angers, dinner that evening was with Christophe and Claire Daviau (Domaine de Bablut). Une Ile is run by the Gerard and Catherine Bossé, who used to have Les Tonnelles on the Isle Behuard close to Savennières. They closed Les Tonnelles in December and opened this new restaurant in Angers on 21st January. The cooking is extremely good but not cheap, particularly with sliding sterling. We chose the entry level 48€ menu – amuse bouche, St Jacques poelées au beurre de truffe, brochet de Loire au beurre blanc and dessert chocolate. After a glass of Champagne Drappier zero dosage we enjoyed the rich and subtle 2006 Les Treilles Domaine Jo Pithon.

Les Treilles is the very steep south-facing vineyard overlooking the River Layon that Jo cleared of scrub at the end of the 1990s and planted in 2000. Following his bust up last January with his business partner, entrepreneur Philip Fournier, Jo has managed to keep this special vineyard.

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