When we think of Sancerre, the first thing that comes to mind is a dry yet thirst-quenching Sauvignon Blanc with a nose of citrus and flint. Seldom do we expect more from this Loire Valley white. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and I honestly didn’t expect to be so moved when tasting through the wines of Domaine Vacheron.
But then again, Domaine Vacheron is far from your average producer of Sancerre. The Vacheron family has been tending vines in this region for over a century. Yet, much of the credit goes to Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron, who over the last decade have raised the bar at this historic property. Beyond the entry-level Sancerre, they also produce a set of single-vineyard expressions, as well as the region’s most renowned Pinot Noir.
As is often the story with quality wine today, it all starts in the vineyards, of which Vacheron is known for having some of the best plots in the appellation. Much of what you find in the glass is a transparent interpretation of Silex soil, a flinty rock that rests on a bed of clay and limestone with a mix of small oceanic fossils. These complex and distinct soils are found throughout their holdings. The Vacherons also credit their organic and Biodynamic methods in the vineyard to the purity and intensity we find in the glass.
A Burgundian approach is employed in the winery, with parcels throughout their holdings being vinified separately and blended differently for each vintage to obtain the ideal expression of Sancerre. Very little is added, and nothing is taken away, with aging completed in neutral wood and stainless steel. The result is a Sancerre that will drive you wild, and it’s certainly not a wine to sip absently. Instead, you’ll find yourself exploring every nuance in the glass. This is more than just a thirst-quenching Sancerre—this is an eye-opening experience.
Then there is the Rosé. I will be the first to admit that I have yet to fully accept how far Rosé has come in today’s world of wine. This has much to do with the bulk of Rosé still being produced for poolside sipping. However, we are now seeing such serious expressions of Rosé produced throughout the world that it really is time to stop and take note, and that’s exactly where Domaine Vacheron fits in. The same vineyards, soils, and biodynamic farming provide the fruit for this Rosé. Made from Pinot Noir and aged in tank for four months, it emerges as one of the most exciting pink wines I have ever tasted.
Exploring Sancerre can be a very satisfying and thirst-quenching experience, and it’s an excellent way to spend the summer months. I recommend that you place Domaine Vacheron at the top of your list.
2013 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre – The nose was wonderfully fresh and expressive with contrasting notes of tart lemon and ripe apple, moist mineral tones, white flowers and clay. On the palate, it showed razor-sharp acidity which made the mouth water, as notes of tart lemon and green apple soothed the senses. The finish was fresh and clean with lingering floral tones, saline minerality and citrus zest. (E. Guido 91 points)
2014 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rosé – This showed an intense nose of zesty bright cherry and citrus with floral tones, ginger, crushed stone, and hints of forest floor. On the palate, I found tremendous cheek-puckering grapefruit with strawberry accents. It finished intense and incredibly refreshing. (E. Guido 91 points)
Click HERE, for Morrell Wine’s Selection from Domaine Vacheron.
Article and Tasting Notes by: Eric Guido