The success of Sancerre

Avril/Mai 2015

The ever-expanding Henri Bourgeois winery must be the most spectacular development in the region. When I first visited the domaine in October 1989 they had a relatively small winery next to Chavignol’s church. The original  winery is still there but its has expanded very considerably up the hill. Again the buildings are functional and designed for easy working. Of course there is expensive kit inside but there for a purpose. The new arrangements for receiving and selecting their Pinot Noir grapes are coming through in the wines.

David Cobbold - wine journalist :

« I visited Bourgeois’ new winery this winter and was duly impressed. »

 Two dinners and a lunch (part 2)

Henri Bourgeois – leading to dinner at Jean-Marc Bourgeois’ La Côte des Monts Damnés in Chavignol. As I was fractionally late getting to the table due to a very interesting extended tasting with Arnaud Bourgeois – more on the two tastings next week as well as some thoughts on David Cobbold’s fine piece on the Central Vineyards yesterday – Carole had already selected a white – the 2012 Le Chêne Marchand from Lucien Crochet. What an excellent choice this was! Le Chêne Marchand is one of the oldest recognised vineyard sites of Sancerre. As you drive into Bué from the south it is on the slopes to your left hand side. It is limestone with very little top soil – known locally as caillottes.
Generally the wines from caillottes, which makes up about 40% of Sancerre’s vineyard, are the quickest and most expressive when young.They tend to be bottled young. This is not the case for Gilles Crochet, the son of Lucien and who has now for a number of years run the domaine. Gilles prefers to give his wines a lengthy élevage. This showed to advantage with the 2012 – complex, good texture with length and balance. […] Even since I first tasted the whites of Henri Bourgeois back in the early part of 1989 I have been convinced of their quality. […] ts silky texture and spicy fruit backed up my feeling that the gap between the Bourgeois reds and their whites is closing. A lovely bottle and further proof that Pinot Noir from the Central Vineyards is well worth searching out.

Arnaud Bourgeois (Henri Bourgeois) in Chavignol. I largely concentrated on tasting the 2014s, which is a very good vintage here and was confirmed by my visits. What was impressive was the determination of all three to continue to improve the quality of their wines. At Domaine Vincent Pinard, for instance, the top cuvée of their Pinot Noir is destemmed by hand using a team of around 20. Naturally this attention to detail doesn’t come cheap – the 2012 Vendanges Entières sells for 33€ a bottle at the domaine. Would you find the same quality, however, in Burgundy for this price?




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