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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thomas Meunier presents the wines of Frédéric Mabileau

Thomas pointing out Le Puy-Notre-Dame the source of their Chenin for the Saumur Blanc

In the unfortunate absence of Frédéric (see previous post), Thomas did a brilliant job yesterday evening presenting the wines to 50 people in the upstairs restaurant. It was good that all of the wines showed well.

2008 Osez Rosé

Aperitif: 2008 Osez Rosé, Rosé de Loire
Guests were welcomed with a glass of 2008 Osez made from 100% Cabernet Franc. This is very pale coloured rosé – the colour only comes from pressing the grapes as there is no maceration. Osez is really light and fresh with attractive pear character will be a great summer drink, assuming we get a summer this year.


The first vintage of Frédéric’s Saumur Blanc was next – 100% Chenin Blanc from vines at Le-Puy-Notre-Dame, south of Saumur and not far from Montreuil-Bellay. The grapes were harvested on two different occasions. First the golden grapes at the end of September 2007 to give the wine freshness and then the rest some two weeks later with a proportion of grapes affected by noble rot to give weight and richness to the wine. The initial selection was vinified in stainless steel tanks (35%) with the second batch (65%) in 500 litre barrels. (In 2008 the proportion in wood was raised to 80%.) The 2007 Saumur Blanc was wonderfully expressive before bottling. Since bottling it has been decidedly closed but the richness is now coming out – well balanced with mineral acidity in the finish.

It was 60 years since the Mabileau last made a white wine. The last vintage that Fréderic’s grandfather, Armand, made was the 1947 from Chenin Blanc planted on the clay-limestone hillsides behind Saint-Nicolas. The creation of the Saint-Nicolas appellation in 1936 meant that the small production of white in the village stopped and the Chenin vines were replaced with Cabernet Franc.

2007 Les Rouillères, Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil

2007 Les Rouillères, St Nicolas de Bourgueil £9.85
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Anjou Rouge,
The 2007 Les Rouillères is all about soft, easy fruit with very little tannin – very much the ideal approach in 2007 when there wasn’t the ripeness to justify long maceration and a lot of extraction. Young this while it is young – no point in keeping it.

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, AC Anjou comes from a parcel of vines just to the west of the Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil appellation. A little more structured than Les Rouillères this is still a wine to drink young to enjoy its youthful blackcurrant fruit.

First course:
Pan seared cured salmon, mash & thyme jus

We had two more 2007s with the first course:

2007 Racines, Bourgueil £12.75
From vines planted on clay and gravel, this spends nine months in 600 litre barrels. This was the most structured of the four 2007s served but still with an accent on the fruit and ready to drink.

2007 Les Coutures, St Nicolas de Bourgueil £14.25
“This is the little brother or sister of Eclipse, Frédéric’s top wine,” explained Thomas. “We don’t make l’Eclipse every year only when the quality of vintage is good enough. When we don’t make L’Eclipse the wine normally destined for L’Eclipse goes into Les Coutures.” The 2007 has lovely stylish, sweet fruit.

Both wines went very well with the salmon again demonstrating that Loire reds are often a very good match for fish, particularly the more ‘meaty’ varieties. The quality of these 2007 reds is a tribute to Frédéric’s skill in a difficult vintage.

Tom King serving


Main course:
Roast ribeye
buttered carrots, mangetouts,
French beans, fondant potatoes
Red wine jus

We then moved onto a small vertical of l’Eclipse featuring 1999, 2000 and 2001 with the main course.

Frédéric made his first vintage of L’Eclipse in 1996. It comes from the oldest part of the vineyard where the vines at 50 years old. Originally it was aged in barriques but since 2001 Frédéric has reined back on the oak and instead now uses 600 litre barrels.

In terms of the three vintages 1999 and 2001 are very similar with some rain during harvest, while 2000 was dry until around the 18th-20th October when it started to rain and hardly stopped until the following March.

Of the three wines 2000 was easily the most full bodied and tannic. It would benefit from further aging. 1999 still has charm but is beginning fade, while the 2001 is between the two. Of the three vintages it is the most marked by oak – it spent 18 months in barrique and has a somewhat international tone about it. The 2001 has rather grainy tannins.

Although I would be happy to drink all three, my preference was for the 2000, especially with the beef, which successfully hid the tannins.

Pear and pistachio jalousie with chocolate sauce

Tom in discussion

Special thanks again to Thomas Meunier for a great presentation. We understand that Frédéric is considering releasing a 'Sans papiers' vin de table made from 'Chemin Blanc' to mark the occasion when he found himself barred from flying bacause his carte d'identité was out of date. Doubltess this will be a wine to drink 'sur place' as it will not travel!

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