Thierry 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.

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.

Thierry Richoux Irancy, Veaupessiot

Thierry Richoux - 2013 Irancy, Rouge, ‘Veaupessiot’

Price: $48.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

24+ in stock

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

The Wine

Inside the bottle: This wine really stirs me up. You must be a patient drinker to buy this wine or just forget it. It's deceiving when opened as it shows a few of its complexities but you are likely to find, like a great Barolo, some resistance at first. After some time wondering what to do with this wine that was spoken so highly of by The Source, the greatness of this wine can sneak through the back door and blow your mind. It is a rustic, clean style of wine that with patience shows you an array of specific noble complexities that you are not likely to find anywhere else in the world.

After twenty minutes or more, the wine starts to fire up. The nose finds purity of wild cherry, orange peel, aperol, persimmon and exotic green herbs and wet forest notes that all contribute to its fresh appeal. The palate is striking and tense with acidity and tannic structure, but pure and supremely earthy. After more than an hour, it arrives at a new level where each specific nuance is magnified and even more precise. This is one of my most favorite wines to drink and cellar of all of our entire selection of wines. It may be very personal for me and may not be for everyone. However, I can assure you that if you like old-school Burgundy (like the Volnays of a couple decades ago), this is the wine for you. If you need your fruitier style, this may be a stretch.

A matter of choice: Thierry favors waiting some time before releasing his wines. For example, he releases his basic red Irancy sometimes more than two years after the Cote d’Or releases theirs and this wine, Veaupessiot, nearly four years after. The reason is that his wines gets moved only a couple of times and they spend most of their time in concrete and large foudre (55hl) for two years before bottling, thus preserving delicate aromas. When the wine is bottled, it takes quite a few years to really show its stuff, so, Thierry waits.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: Irancy is tucked in at the bottom of a very small amphitheater about 20 minutes west 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. Irancy has found its special climate for Pinot Noir because of its horseshoe shape that faces south, west and north. Veaupessiot is located outside the amphitheater on the south side all the way to the western edge. It is completely exposed to the elements making for a wine of tension, aroma and great freshness.

Vinification: After picking by hand the grapes are 100% destemmed and cold soaked for 3 days cold soak 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 fermention and none made throughout the elevage until bottling. There is no fining or filtration.

Aging: 2.5 years total elevage time: First year in stainless steel, the remainder in 600-liter (15% new); pre-2013 aged in large old 55-80hl foudre.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Aromatic, High-Toned, Earthy, Mineral, Textured, Red and Dark Red Fruit, Aperol, Energetic

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 with very light soil and more stone compared to other zones in Irancy.

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

Average age 30 years (2019); 2.34ha

Altitude:

200-250

Aspect:

SW/W

Slope:

Steep
(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:

<1

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

About The Wine

Inside the bottle: This wine really stirs me up. You must be a patient drinker to buy this wine or just forget it. It’s deceiving when opened as it shows a few of its complexities but you are likely to find, like a great Barolo, some resistance at first. After some time wondering what to do with this wine that was spoken so highly of by The Source, the greatness of this wine can sneak through the back door and blow your mind. It is a rustic, clean style of wine that with patience shows you an array of specific noble complexities that you are not likely to find anywhere else in the world.

After twenty minutes or more, the wine starts to fire up. The nose finds purity of wild cherry, orange peel, aperol, persimmon and exotic green herbs and wet forest notes that all contribute to its fresh appeal. The palate is striking and tense with acidity and tannic structure, but pure and supremely earthy. After more than an hour, it arrives at a new level where each specific nuance is magnified and even more precise. This is one of my most favorite wines to drink and cellar of all of our entire selection of wines. It may be very personal for me and may not be for everyone. However, I can assure you that if you like old-school Burgundy (like the Volnays of a couple decades ago), this is the wine for you. If you need your fruitier style, this may be a stretch.

A matter of choice: Thierry favors waiting some time before releasing his wines. For example, he releases his basic red Irancy sometimes more than two years after the Cote d’Or releases theirs and this wine, Veaupessiot, nearly four years after. The reason is that his wines gets moved only a couple of times and they spend most of their time in concrete and large foudre (55hl) for two years before bottling, thus preserving delicate aromas. When the wine is bottled, it takes quite a few years to really show its stuff, so, Thierry waits.