Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 17 June 2011

Friday 10th June: Saumur and Chinon (part 3) – Domaine de la Noblaie

Jérôme Billard

Following our brief visit to Château de la Grille we headed back into Chinon and across the Vienne to Ligré and the Domaine de la Noblaie. This is the first time I have seen Jérôme and Elodie Billard since the birth of Adele at the beginning of March. It was good to meet Adele, who apparently is well behaved and now sleeps through the night.

We had an extensive and impressive tasting with Jérôme starting with the floral, honeyed and vibrant 2010 Chinon Blanc. This cuvée sees no wood – resting on its lees until it is bottled earlier either in January or February. "It is naturally stable," says Jérôme, "with little SO2 added. Noblaie along with nearby Château de Ligré has long made white Chinon, when it was even more recherché than it is now.

Then, before tackling the reds, it was on to the 2010 grenadine flavoured Rosé, which has weight and character. Noblaie's reds have a lovely purity of fruit. We tasted across the range of 2010s in barrel, which are showing plenty of promise, especially the Blanc Manteaux from limestone soils and Pierre de Tuf from heavy clay. Pierre de Tuf is vinified in an old limestone (tufa), open vat. Jérôme characterises the 2010s as having the weight of 2009 with the minerality of 2008.

From the barrels we moved on to bottles starting with the soft and concentrated 2009 La Noblaie, the domaine wine. Raspberries dominate here with a touch of gaminess. Then the more structured and tannic 2009 Chiens Chiens, which needs time to soften. 2009 Pierre de Tuf has wonderful fragrant, elegant fruit with a long finish – just delicious.

Pierre de Tuf – the ancient limestone fermenting vat

Then we tried some 2008s starting with Blanc Manteaux – naturally lighter than the 2009s but fine with good balance. There is more concentration with the Chiens Chiens with an attractive texture, a combination of black fruits and minerals and the tannins have had time to soften. We finished the reds with the floral and raspberry 2008 Pierre de Tuf. Less impressive than the 2009, although perhaps it is just a question of a bit more time?

The 2008 La Part des Anges, Chinon Blanc brought the tasting to a fitting conclusion. This is a very limited production cuvée made from the best juice from the press then fermented in demi-muids – 500 litre barrels using the natural yeasts.
The 2009 is still fermenting, while this 2008 spent 18 months in wood. It has a lovely rich concentration of fruit, an opulent texture some wood notes, honey and exotic fruit – all this is balanced by excellent freshness in the finish.

Once again confirmation that under Jérôme, Domaine de la Noblaie is now amongst the top handful of Chinon estates.


Anonymous said...


I have access to the reds of Noblaie here in AB. Can you tell anything about them?

Bob thanks

Jim's Loire said...

Pateience Bob am getting to the reds! You are a lucky boy to have access to Noblaie's reds I can recommend them.