Thierry Richoux

Richoux

The Story

Once in a great while you stumble on a hidden gem, even one that has been in plain sight for decades. The first time I tasted a wine made by Thierry Richoux was out of a small, thick-rimmed glass that could only hold about five ounces of wine, if it were completely full. It was a bottle that was brought to dinner by our Chablis producer, Gilles Collet. I can still smell, taste and feel that first moment with Thierry’s 2008 Irancy. To my surprise, he didn’t have an importer in the States yet.

My first meeting with Thierry was one of my most eye-opening experiences. He is a gentle, thin and soft-spoken man with amazingly powerful hands that look like they could crush you with very little effort. Like Thierry, his wines are full of surprises and achieve a level of purity and authenticity that is rare to find, even in Burgundy. I have tasted nearly every red wine he has made going back to the late 80s, and with each wine, a new world opens up. He is without a doubt one of the greatest achievers in our collection and one that I cherish as much as any producer I work with. -TV

Lay of the Land

This gorgeous village of Irancy is tucked in at the bottom of a very small amphitheater about 20 minutes from the center of Chablis. It shares the same basic geology as Chablis: Portlandian limestone on the upper sections and Kimmerigean limestone inside of the sloped areas. However, this is not a place that makes Chardonnay, it is home to one of the furthest north places in France that makes still wine from Pinot Noir.

Irancy has found its special climate for Pinot Noir because of its horseshoe shape that faces south, west and north. The Pinot Noir from the north face is often used for cremant or rosé because it has a more difficult time ripening. The wines from this place can be extremely rustic impressions of Burgundy, something you could imagine something from the Côte d’Or during the 12th century. There is also another red grape here, César, which accentuates the rusticity. However, you will find none of that grape variety in the cellar of Thierry Richoux. -TV

Thierry Richoux Les Cailles

Thierry Richoux - 2012 Irancy, Rouge Les Cailles

Price: $48.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

24+ in stock

Type of Wine: Red
Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Style: Mineral, Rustic

The Wine

Thierry embraces each vintage for its uniqueness, which makes for a lot of diversity between years. Veaupessiot, like the other Irancy wines in the range, when first opened can hold its cards close to the chest—2010, 2013 and 2015 vintages are exceptions. Like a great Nebbiolo wine, the initial resistance begins to soften with time open and all its noble qualities begin to unfold from the glass. They are a rustic, clean style of wine that with patience shows an array of specific noble complexities unique to this place. Veaupessiot is the most elegant and brightly aromatic than the other lieux-dits bottlings, Les Cailles and La Palotte. Les Cailles is the more stern and stony with equal polish and La Palotte the more rustic and earthy ode to the past glories of Irancy.

Richoux’s favors taking extra time before the release of his wines, sometimes more than two years after the producers in the Côte d’Or. His wines wines are moved only a couple of times and spend their time in concrete and large foudre (55hl) for two years before bottling, preserving the delicate aromas that need some extra time to come back to form after the bottling. It can take some years for the full recovery; Thierry is in no rush to push them out the door.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: The hamlet of Irancy is tucked in at the bottom of an amphitheater covered in Pinot Noir vines about a 20 minute drive west from the center of Chablis. It shares the same basic geology as Chablis: Portlandian limestone on the upper, flat sections and Kimmerigean limestone marls not so far down the slope and going all the way to the bottom. Irancy has a special climate for Pinot Noir because of its horseshoe shape that faces south, west and north, with another face that wraps outside the southwest corner with more south and west expositions, the location of La Palotte and Veaupessiot. Les Cailles is inside the amphitheater on a soft slope of old vines. It’s notably more firm, mineral and straight than Veaupessiot and by comparison usually needs even another year or two for the charm to emerge.

Vinification: After picking by hand the grapes are 100% destemmed and cold soaked for three days before starting their 2-3 week spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel. Malolactic is finished naturally by the end of spring (normally, but the climate is changing things). Pre-2018 there was no SO2 before fermentation and none made throughout the elevage until bottling.

Aging: 2.5 years total elevage time: First year in stainless steel, the remainder in old 228-liter barrels (none new)

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Earthy, Mineral, Animal, Structured, Stony, Tannic, Red and Dark Fruit, Energetic, Muscular, Angular

Mineral Impressions:

Lightly SaltySaltyMetalMineralWet StoneFlintGraphiteReductivePetrol

Ageability:

Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:

NatureModerateNurture

Intensity:

SubtleVigorousElectric

Core:

LitheMediumDense

Acidity:

LightMediumFullElectric

Texture:

LitheMediumDense

Body:

LightMediumFull

Tannin:

NoneLightMediumFull

Finish:

FrontMiddleBack

Wood Presence:

NoneSubtleNoticeable

The Vineyard

Soil:

Kimmeridgian limestone marls and with heavy clay soils and less rocks

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

50 yr ave (2019); 7-8 parcels, 1.77ha

Altitude (meters):

270

Aspect:

South

Slope:

Medium
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfur Dioxide

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

12.5-13.5

pH:

3.4-3.5

Titratable Acidity:

4.5

Residual Sugar:

Dry

Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Thierry Richoux

About The Wine

Thierry embraces each vintage for its uniqueness, which makes for a lot of diversity between years. Veaupessiot, like the other Irancy wines in the range, when first opened can hold its cards close to the chest—2010, 2013 and 2015 vintages are exceptions. Like a great Nebbiolo wine, the initial resistance begins to soften with time open and all its noble qualities begin to unfold from the glass. They are a rustic, clean style of wine that with patience shows an array of specific noble complexities unique to this place. Veaupessiot is the most elegant and brightly aromatic than the other lieux-dits bottlings, Les Cailles and La Palotte. Les Cailles is the more stern and stony with equal polish and La Palotte the more rustic and earthy ode to the past glories of Irancy.

Richoux’s favors taking extra time before the release of his wines, sometimes more than two years after the producers in the Côte d’Or. His wines wines are moved only a couple of times and spend their time in concrete and large foudre (55hl) for two years before bottling, preserving the delicate aromas that need some extra time to come back to form after the bottling. It can take some years for the full recovery; Thierry is in no rush to push them out the door.