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The rolling hills around the hilltop village of Sancerre, in the Loire Valley, are completely covered with vineyards. It may come as a surprise to learn that Pinot Noir represents almost one quarter of plantings here, with the rest reserved for the Sauvignon Blanc responsible for Sancerre’s brisk, citrusy whites. Interestingly, Pinot Noir once dominated these slopes, but planting Sauvignon became the norm after the phylloxera epidemic wiped out all of the region’s vineyards in the late nineteenth century. Today, growers in the area are realizing the potential to make fine reds—after all, Sancerre is not so far from Burgundy, and it shares the clay and limestone soils known to yield such noble expressions of Pinot. Daniel Chotard and his son, Simon, are constantly experimenting in the cellar, testing different techniques in fermentation and aging in order to improve each vintage. This 2015 rouge saw aging in a combination of stainless steel tanks and oak barrels of various sizes, the perfect combination to capture bright, fresh fruit while maximizing depth and complexity on the palate. It is proof that red Sancerre deserves to be taken seriously.
|Vineyard:||Vines between 20 and 55 years old, .6 ha|
|Soil:||Clay, Limestone, Kimmeridgian marl|
|Aging:||Ages both in stainless steel and barriques (2%) – barrels come from the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy after 1, 2, and 3 years of use|
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch