Crossing into the tiny, picturesque village of Chavignol we very much leave Sancerre in the rear-view. The painfully steep Kimmerdgian limestone slopes define this appellation, one where Sauvignon Blanc is known for its atypical style and wild transformative capabilities in bottle. François and Pascal Cotat, (along with Vatan) are where the enthusiasm for Chavignol reaches its fever pitch.
Today's offer from these, the most collectible and age-worthy wines of the appellation, feature back-vintages, magnums, and the ultra-rare Sancerre Rougefrom 2010 and 2015.Cotat wines stand out for their unusually high ripeness for Sancerre, while effortlessly maintaining a taut mineral backbone. In their youth they have a disciplined structure that's impossible to resist falling for, as it's such a departure from common Sancerre.It's as if a Lincoln Town Car Sauvignon Blanc was traded in for a Porsche - Precision, fine-tuning, and raw power awaits.
With age we see a transformation that has no rivals in the world of white wine. Sauvignon Blanc's citrus, herbaceous, and grassy characteristics mysteriously vanish. Acidity settles, flavors become more rounded, showing jasmine and faint honey notes. In the end you're left with what can only be described as Chavignol.These are beloved by collectors for their ability to age like top White Burgundy. Bottles I tasted at the domain with François from 2002 and 1998 seemed no older than just a few years, both showing only a pale straw color. Between the two sites below, La Grand Côte offers the more deep and broadly textured wine. While Les Monts Damnés ("Damned Mountain") showcases a more mineral component and linear quality. Pascal and François Cotat have a unique back story, as the two domaines were once the same. Due to French property law the single estate was split, and today each heads their own eponymous domaine. The wines have nearly identical labels, with the exception of the first name.
François Cotat has less than one hectare of Pinot Noir vines. He produces a thrilling rosé from this parcel and sometimes he chooses to produce a red wine. 2010 was excellent throughout Sancerre, and back-vintage Cotat rouge is something I've never come across until today's offer.1x 2005 François Cotat Sancerre La Grande Côte
$92 per bottle.
4x 2007 François Cotat Sancerre La Grande Côte 1.5L
$237 per bottle.3x 2010 François Cotat Sancerre Rouge
$99 per bottle.1x 2013 Francois Cotat Sancerre La Grand Côte 1.5L
$149 per bottle.
1x 2013 Francois Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés 1.5L
$144 per bottle.
3x 2014 Pascal Cotat Sancerre La Grande Côte
$69 per bottle.12x 2015 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Rouge$68 per bottle.5x 2015 Pascal Cotat Chavignol Sancerre Rosé$55 per bottle.9x 2016 François Cotat Chavignol Sancerre Caillottes$54 per bottle.12x 2016 François Cotat Chavignol Sancerre La Grand Côte$78 per bottle.10x 2016 François Cotat Chavignol Sancerre Les Monts Damnés$68 per bottle.23x 2016 François Cotat Chavignol Sancerre Rosé$51 per bottle.2x 2016 Pascal Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés$57 per bottle.
The wines of Gérard Boulay have long been the top secret source within Sancerre's most esteemed village, Chavignol. These steep, chalky, Kimmeridgian limestone slopes are home to tiny producers who capture Sauvignon Blanc at its most crystalline defined and age-worthy. The Cotat cousins and Edmond Vatan may be the first names mentioned from Chavignol, but discerning collectors have long turned to Boulay for top quality and value when searching for the hamlet's Grand Cru level vineyards, Monts Damnés and La Côte.
Today I'm very happy to offer both Gérard Boulay's 2015 Monts Damnés and La Côte with special pricing on mixed 4-Packs.
Chavignol, in many respects, is not Sancerre. The terroir throughout Sancerre varies a great deal. Within the tiny village of Chavignol you know exactly what you are getting: Diamond-cut clarity of terroir and underlying mineral tension reminiscent of top Meursault. The band of this unique limestone in Chavignol is the same formation that reaches parts of Chablis and Champagne.
Chavignol's most desirable trait may be the unusual abundance of ripeness found in these two sun-battered slopes. The cold climate of the Loire Valley finds its greatest respite here, where the steep pitch evoked such awe that I had to pull my car over to truly take it all in during my visit. Much like in Côte Rôtie and the Mosel Valley, Monts Damnés (Damned Mountain) and La Côte are only capable of being worked by hand.
Along with the top two wines from Boulay, there's a small amount available of his villages level Chavignol ($32), as well as two vintages of his rosé of Pinot Noir - always one of France's most transformative and age-worthy.
Although any Boulay Chavignol can bring fireworks to a range of pairings from shellfish to bone-in pork chops, there may be nothing more satisfying than serving alongside your favorite goat cheese. Some iconic partnerships simply do not tire!
2015 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnés "Comtesse"
$59 per bottle.
Sourced from a special parcel within Monts Damnés of 50-75 year-old-vines next to Vatan's Clos la Neore.
2015 Gérard Boulay Sancerre La Côte
$55 per bottle.
Special E-mail Chavignol 4-Pack Pricing: $213 (Regularly $228)
2 bottles of each: 2015 Monts Damnés "Comtesse" & La Côte
2013 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Clos de Beaujeu
$41 per bottle.
2014 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Monts Damnés 1.5L
$95 per bottle.
2013 Gérard Boulay Sancerre La Côte 1.5L
$112 per bottle.
2005 Gérard Boulay Sancerre Clos de Beaujeu
$69 per bottle.
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.