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2015 Sancerre Rouge

Daniel Chotard

2015 Sancerre <em>Rouge</em> Daniel Chotard - Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

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.

Anthony Lynch

Vintage: 2015
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sancerre
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Daniel Chotard
Winemaker: Daniel Chotard
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
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Production: 8,300 cases
Alcohol: 12.5%

More from this Producer or Region

About Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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2014 Chinon “La Croix Boissée”

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2015 Chinon “Les Varennes du Grand Clos”

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2015 Bourgueil “Clos Sénéchal”

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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

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