We are all familiar with recent Chinese economic development. In response to a perceived demand French wine makers have exhibited their wares in the Far East especially in Hong Kong. This has further stimulated interest in high quality French wine and as a result we have had Chinese wine buyers visit the vineyards of Sancerre. Last month a group of twenty Chinese wine buyers made their first visit. They were very enthusiastic but clearly had a lot to learn. This made some of us old hands think again about what makes Sancere such a great wine. Is it the punchy fruit flavours including ripe gooseberry? Is it the pungent floral qualities? Is it the flinty minerality? Is it the long after-flavours that linger in the mouth? Well, it is the combination of all these things. The Chinese have begun to discover it too! Some Sancerre is already being exported to China and we can expect this trend to continue in the years ahead.
Posted on 11/07/2013 at 08:14AM
In Sancerre this year witnesses the historic celebration of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the house of Mellot. In 1513 Pierre-Etienne Mellot laid out a small vineyard to inaugurate this winemaking family. It is known that in 1698 Cesar Mellot was appointed Wine Advisor to King Louis XIV. Alphonse Mellot was the first Sancerre winemaker to exhibit his wines at the Paris Wine Fair in 1920 and in 1946 Edmond and Joseph his two sons succeeeded as head of the Mellot estabishment. In 1969 the two brothers parted company and today there are two branches both celebrating their 500th anniversary Alphonse Mellot and Joseph Mellot. Both firms are very successful and make excellent wines. We raise a toast to them. May they continue the quality wine making of their illustrious ancestors.
Posted on 02/07/2013 at 03:31PM
This weekend we have again witnessed the traditonal lighting of bonfires. This is to mark St John's Day which occurs at the time of midsummer (the longest day and shortest night). During the previous week men cut down grass and others built bonfires. On Saturday evening villagers gathered as fires were lit on the hillsides above the wine villages. At Chavignol the 'Sabotee Sancerroise' folk dance and music team made merry with ancient songs. People brought picnic food and wine was used to toast the season. Looking across the tops of the 'Cotes' we could see many fires blazing and grou;s of people, young and old, marking the passing of the summer. We hope that this will bring us good fortune in the days ahead as we look for a little more sunshine to ripen the grapes.
Posted on 24/06/2013 at 09:30AM
The limestome influenced soils of Sancerre have something in common with the soils of Champagne, Chablis and Burgundy. They are all Kimmeridgian; a mixture of clay with Kimmeridge limestone. The underlying geology was laid down in the Upper Jurassic,150 million years ago. The rock base has a special characteristic: the abundance of a family of tiny oysters called Exogyra virgule, in the marls and the marly limestone. The name is English and was dientified in Enlgand as the limestone basin stretches across the English Channel. The three soil types of Sancerre are all calcareous but with particular minerality in the soils of the eastern margin along the ridge of Sancerre town. It is fascinating that the fine wines as different but as excellent as Corton Charlmagne, Grand Cru Chablis and Sancerre all derive from the same group of soils, albeit with their own identity.
Posted on 10/06/2013 at 03:59PM
Today is a sad day in Sancerre as we witness the funeral of the great man Andre Dezat known locally as 'P'tit De'. After the Second World War he was one of the leaders of a new group of winemakers that pushed up the quality of making in a big way introducing innovations and teaching others how it should be done. He did much to promote the good name of Sancerre across the world. He was a wise sage, a gentleman, an entrepreneur and a helpmate to many. He was President of the Viticole Union of Sancerre from 1962 until 1989 and was also elected Mayor of Verdigny for more than 30 years although he was originally born in Maimbray, Sury-en-Vaux. Many times his wines have won medals and awards for their finesse and elegance. He also bought land across the Loire in Pouilly and made a considerable reputation with his superb Pouilly Fume. His sons continue the great work of their father. But P'tit De will be sorely missed.
Posted on 05/06/2013 at 01:31PM