This past May served as a great awakening to the potential and diversity within the top expressions of Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre. Styles of winemaking differ nearly as much as the change in soil throughout the region, from flint - to marl - to Kimmeridgian limestone.
A tour throughout the seven different parcels of Sauvignon Blanc with Jean-Dominique Vacheron was a thrilling way to get up close with the varied landscape. Farming in organics and biodynamics since 2000, this estate is the benchmark for Sancerre. There is no expression more regal, disciplined, and refined as Vacheron.
The process of crafting world class Sauvignon Blanc at Domaine Vacheron is ever changing, as cousins Jean-Dominique and Jean-Laurent Vacheron are continually looking for ways improve upon what their parents and great grandparents have handed down to them. Farming practices are rigorous here, and there are no short cuts taken. It's very rare in Sancerre to farm in organics and biodynamics as the weather can be brutal and uncooperative. Today, still there are less than ten producers who are certified in organic viticulture.
In the cellar there has been a move to utilize more large vessels such as foudre to ensure the wines are taut and crystal clear in their definition as temperatures in the region continue to climb. All wines are fermented with native yeasts, and the lunar cycle dictates when bottling occurs, always without any fining or filtration.
At the domaine with Jean-Dominique I tasted through several back-vintages of Sancerre from single vineyards, as well as the estate's flagship "entry level" Sancerre. The wines stand out from many in the region for their sense of clarity and energy, at the same time showcasing forward and ripe citrus fruits, white flowers, and tarragon notes. With time all of the wines develop a faint honeyed quality matched with a mouth watering salinity that provided a perfect sense of balance.
2015 Vacheron Sancerre
$37 per bottle.
The perfect bottle of Sancerre, combining vineyards grown on the regions two distinct soils of Kimmeridgian limestone and flint (silex).
2014 Vacheron Sancerre Les Romains
$61 per bottle
The top white wine of the domaine, and certainly one of the greatest single expressions of Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Coming from vines over 60-years-old planted on a complete south-facing vineyard. Soil is comprised exclusively of flint (silex) imbuing a smokey quality met with the most elegant frame of all the Vacheron wines.
2010 Vacheron Sancerre Les Romains
$82 per bottle (pre-arrival)
Back-vintages of Les Romains simply do not exist. We were thrilled to get this tiny allocation. Very limited!