In the good old days, the secret of Sancerre were the wines of Gérard Boulay in Chavignol. While they're still an insider's source for Sauvignon Blanc and rosé of Pinot Noir from these steep chalky Kimmeridgian limestone slopes, they're no longer available in open inventory. Allocations get smaller each vintage, and the 2016 tiny yields mean this is the slimmest release yet.
The Cotat cousisns and Vatan join Boulay as the prime source for the benchmark single vineyard bottlings from Chavignol. However, Boulay stands alone in offering avillage cuvée that's appropriately the prime target of Chavignol value hunters.
My instructions to Boulay's California importer are simple each year:
Don't ask, Just ship.
Chavignol in so many ways is not Sancerre. Much like Spain's Basque country, here the residents are adamant in making it clear they're separate from the whole. The terroir throughout Sancerre varies a great deal. Within the tiny village of Chavignol you know exactly what you are getting. Razor sharp focus, finely etched mineral notes, and abundant ripeness thanks to these treacherously steep, sun-battered slopes that bear names like, Grand Côte and Monts Damnès (Damned Mountain).
There's no reason to inflame the demand for these micro-production wines anymore. The annual late release of the rosé of Pinot Noir fulfills 200 cases in average vintages. 2016 saw much less. Do not let the price tag fool you, both of these $32 Chavignolvillage wines will continue to evolve beautifully for years to come.
2016 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol
$32 per bottle.
2016 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol Rosé of Pinot Noir
$32 per bottle.
2014 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol Rosé of Pinot Noir
$34 per bottle.
2005 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Clos de Beaujeu
$64 per bottle.
2013 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Clos de Beaujeu
$41 per bottle.
2013 Gérard Boulay Sancerre La Côte 1.5L
$112 per bottle.
2015 Gérard Boulay Sancerre La Côte
$55 per bottle.
2015 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnés "Comtesse"
$59 per bottle.
A sweet spot within Monts Damnés of 50-75 year-old-vines next to Vatan's Clos la Neore.