Harvest time has come upon us. Each year, the wine-growers of each Sancerrois village ask the prefectural authorization to lift the harvest ban and begin the harvests. This practice dates back to the Middle Ages, the lifting of the ban being the privilege of the reigning lord. Once the harvest ban has been lifted, the wine-growers are free to choose the day on which they will start harvesting according to the ripeness of the grapes in the plots.
This year, we began the harvests on September 16 and will finish them in early October, depending on the weather. Due to the climatic conditions recently recorded in the Sancerrois, we have been harvesting quality grapes with a small decrease in yield due to the concentration of juice in the berries following the three heat waves we experienced this summer. Nevertheless, Sancerrois was relatively spared by late frosts this year. We are harvesting the result of a whole year of patience, supervision, and care of the vineyard. But the work doesn’t stop there… it has just begun!
Our estate has 72 hectares spread over a mosaic of 120 plots on the largest terroirs of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. We cultivate two grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, on four types of soil present from East to West: flint, limestone, clay-limestone, and Kimmeridgian marl. Plots are worked with the utmost respect for the environment by using “clean” and natural techniques to give life to our soil, fight against insects, or avoid the presence of mildew andpowdery mildew.
The grapes are harvested plot by plot after a rigorous tasting of the berries, carried out by the family, followed by a ripeness test (analysis of the sugar level and the acidity). The selection of berries continues in the cellar before their vinification.
The production mainly carried out by hillside or plot is one of our specialties, initiated in the 30’s. This allows us to take into account the characteristics of each terroir in order to obtain the most authentic information for each of the four soil types of Sancerre. The distinct vinification of the Côte des Monts Damnés is a historic example at the Domaine. We built a 4-story winery in 1999. It is used for every stage of the winemaking process to optimize the quality of the wines and provide optimum winemaking and aging conditions. Pinot Noir, vinified in wooden (oak) vats, is then aged in barrels of different sizes and origins, while the Sauvignon Blanc is vinified in thermo-regulated stainless steel vats. The large vintages are aged in oak casks (called pieces, with a capacity of 300 liters) in order to guarantee the best conditions of ripeness and to reveal all their complexity.
In summary, our vinification is based on the pure expression of the grapes of each terroir thanks to the precision of the plot selections, with the use of the gravity at each step of the vinification and with all the care brought, from the ripening of the wines on fine lees to bottling.