2021 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc, Loire Valley, France
ABOUT THIS WINE
With cellars located in the charming, hilltop town of Sancerre, Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron have vineyards in mainly the eastern part of Sancerre on hard, flinty soils as well as smaller holding on softer limestone and clay soils. Their “village” Sancerre bottling draws from both terroirs to create a subtle, mineral and completely satisfying wine. One of the few estates in Sancerre to harvest entirely by hand this wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in tank for at least 4 months before bottling.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
Domaine Vacheron is one of Sancerre’s elite properties, producing white and red Sancerre of amazing purity and definition. The Domaine has been completely transformed over to biodynamic farming (certified by Biodyvin in 2005) with two young cousins, Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron, at the helm. No synthetic material is used in the vineyard, harvests are carried out exclusively by hand, and the only fertilizer used is produced from the compost pile. Yields are kept extremely low. Having inherited some of the most coveted parcels in the appellation (and being smart about current land purchases), the cousins are trying a Burgundian approach to Sancerre winemaking, with parcels being vinified by terroir and blends varying from year to year. Pinot Noir is not an afterthought for Vacheron, but a focus, and on soils just a couple of hours west of Burgundy, the cousins are making grand, expressive bottlings from the varietal.
Vacheron is primarily a “silex” producer. Silex (flint) is found primarily in the eastern part of the appellation (and across the river in Pouilly Fumé). Almost all of Vacheron’s holdings are on this hard minerally soil type. Flint produces vertical, long-aging Sancerre bottlings and the Vacheron boys’ biggest aim is to let this shine. The “basic” Sancerre blanc from the property comes from vines planted on the fault line between silex and Caillottes (hard shards of limestone).
Jean-Dominque and Jean-Laurent currently farm 34 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and 11 hectares of Pinot Noir. Starting with some rows in the famous Les Romains vineyard, the property has slowly begun acquiring small amounts of vines in the most coveted lieu-dits in the appellation, including Guigne Chèvre, En Grands Champs, Paradis, and Chambrates.