I stopped at Clos Roche Blanche winery to buy a few bottles. The estate is located near Mareuil sur Cher, not far from the Cher river. If you look at the satellite picture and navigate properly a bit on the upper left you can see the winery and the vineyards on the otherside of the wood.
Catherine was already in the deep cavernous cellar under the hill with a few visitors and I joined the party. Beautiful tasting of whites, of a rosé (Pineau d'Aunis) and of reds in the cold cave, guarded as usual by the quiet dog Pic and his mother. I came initially for whites but couldn't resist to grab a few reds in addition to some "Sauvignon N°5 after I tasted l'Arpent Rouge 2007, a red Pineau d'Aunis which is virtually sold out now (If you find some, buy it blind!) . On the nose, pepper, red fruits, cherries, morello cherries and clafouti, with an additionnal touch of liquorice in the mouth, a beautiful and surprising wine. At 6,5 Euro it's a steal. I would have liked to buy also a few bottles of "la Closerie" 2006, a red blend of Cot, Cabernet Franc and Gamay but I don't have much room on the motorcycle, it will be for my next drop. This last wine has its three grape varieties harvested together and macerated together, so that their respective yeasts blend too, then the resulting wine stayed one year in casks in these.
While we were downing a few generous pours of CRB's last wines, Didier was alone doing some delicate spring work in the vineyard, a few meters over our heads.
I decided to pay a surprise visit to Didier Barrouillet and see from close what he was doing in the vineyard.The vineyards of Clos Roche Blanche are on the top of the hill and to reach them you just need to walk the dirt road across the woods on the slope. Pic the dog gets sudddenly excited by the prospect of a run, and he shows me that he is good at other things than just laying in the cellar and listening to the noisy comments of chatty, happy tasters. This dog is a real runner...But seeing that neither Catherine or his mother followed suit, he soon turned back, leaving me alone on my way to the plateau.
Before leaving him continue his arduous task, I ask Didier about the 2007 harvest (many organicly-farmed estates had disastrously-low yields because of the poor weather conditions and Mildew). He says that the yields were lower in 2007 but not that much and that mildew could be countered. In 2008 he notes that the foliage and growth on the vines is nearly 2-weeks late because of the cold weather in march and april, but he says that this is not a bad thing.
I found this sponge fossil in the moved earth and brought it to Catherine who keeps a nice collection of fossils on Clos Roche Blanche's windows (you'll find it there if you visit). Many of these sponge fossils have the shape of a water drop or a fig (I initially thought these were figs fossils) and they date from the remote era when a sea covered the region.