Friday, February 7, 2014

Crisp, Delightful Sancerres from Domaine Vacheron

Last week, I spent two days tasting through organic wines at Millésime Bio, a trade show held in Montpellier, France. SudVinBio, an association of organic Languedoc-Roussillon winemakers, who sponsored the fair and my trip, gathered some 700 organic winemakers from 12 countries for this event. I mingled through the booths, stopping to taste and talk with winemakers. I spent most of my time focused on Burgundy, the Loire Valley and Southern Rhone winemakers, and I found more than a few new (to me) producers to get excited about.

Jean-Louis Vacheron is passionate about Sancerre, and his wines show it.
One such producer was Domaine Vacheron of Sancerre. I had a blast tasting through their single-vineyard Sancerres and talking to winemaker, Jean-Louis Vacheron. Talk about terroir-driven wines, Domaine Vacheron wines are dripping with a sense of place. Their regional blend is awesome, but the single-vineyards, based in different soils, represent everything I love about Sancerre. This was the first producer I visited during the fair, and honestly, one of my favorites of the fair.

Clean and fresh on the nose, with lemons, oyster shells and limestone. Crisp, nervy on the palate with tons of minerals and electric acid. Good length and depth. Yet there’s some roundness from the grapefruit and lemon fruit. For a “basic” wine, very impressive. (89 points)

2011 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre “Les Romains”
Lime, oyster shells, a slight herbal note on the nose. Rich texture but zesty acid. Key lime, green melon, tons of slate and mountain stream and mineral notes. Brisk, but also some creamy aspects. A beautiful young Sancerre. (91 points)

2011 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre “Guigne-Chèvres”
Floral, melon, lemon and smashed brick on the nose. Nervy acid, bright gooseberry and melon rind flavors. Intense minerality here, and I love it, yet it has a lot of depth and some weight on the mouthfeel. Another impressive wine from Vacheron. (90 points)

Smells of melon, lemon-lime, crushed shells and rocks. Creamy melon and lime fruit on the palate, crisp and mineral-driven. (89 points)

2011 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre “Le Paradis”  
Gooseberries, mineral and a slight sage element on the nose. Limestone-driven, crisp acid and a creamy mouthfeel. Green apple peel and lime flavors, so pure and lovely with a long finish. (89 points)

2013 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre
Some apricot and honey on the nose, yellow flowers. More green than the other wines, with peach and melon fruit. Great acid and length though, complex minerality. (88 points)

2013 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rosé
Roses and McIntosh apple on the nose. Crisp, clean, mineral city on the palate. Red apple peel, strawberry and wildflowers, limestone on the finish. Not as much depth as some of the other wines, but well-made. Tasted from a tank sample, but I'd love to taste this again in six to nine months to see how it comes together once bottled. (87 points)

2009 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rouge
Soft cherries, slight smoke and roses on the nose. Smooth palate with tart strawberries and red currants. Nice concentration and acid, pure and attractive with notes of berry compote, earth and white pepper. Sexy stuff. (90 points)

Darker berries on the nose, more roses and violets than the basic Sancerre Rouge. Great concentration, but fresh and balanced. Berry compote, earth, white pepper, loam, it's all seamlessly tied together. Long finish with notes of rocks and roses. Delicious stuff, I'd love to taste it again with a few more years on it. (91 points)

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