Domaine de La Noblaie

"Domaine de la Noblaie is now a fixture in the premier league of Chinon producers."
Rebecca Gibb MW for Vinous

Jérôme Billard took over the Domaine de la Noblaie in 2003 with 12 hectares of vines, of which two hectares were planted with Chenin Blanc. Today he cultivates 25 hectares, including six hectares of Chenin, according to organic and partly even to biodynamic principles, even though the domaine holds an organic certification only. However, this reflects that more and more attention is paid to the vineyard here than in earlier times, which also means more vineyard workers. For now, one employee takes care of 2.3 hectares of vines. The harvest is done by hand, but Jérôme is more precise in separating plots with respect to the soil type and the maturity. He picks up to 10 days earlier today than he did in the past, when the grapes were too mature and gave wines that became rather broad after two years in the bottle. Grapes, musts and wines are moved by gravity, with help of an elevator only to move to the four different levels in the historic tuff cellar. The extraction of the grapes is rather an infusion of the must, and the fermentation is done with natural yeasts. The use of total SO2 is rather moderate today, averaging less than 32 milligrams per liter. The aging on the fine lees has also been extended in recent years and allows the wines to age up to 24 months in predominantly 500-liter oak barrels, with only about 15% of the blend in amphorae and porcelain.
(Stephan Reinhardt for The Wine Advocate/Robertparker.com)