Sancerre, Chablis and Champagne
Domaine Henry PelléRoute d'Aubinges, 18220 Morogues, Tel +33 2 48 64 42 48
Menetou Salon is the good value alternative to Sancerre and Pouilly Fume that are just down the road and Pellé is one of the best winemakers in that area. They make a range of Sauvignon Blancs, a rose and a range of Pinot Noirs. In the Sauvignons, the ’14 Les Bomes €7.60 had just been bottled and was obviously in ‘bottle shock’ as a result. It had a nose full of scents and a great lemoney taste. The ’13 Morogues Blanc €10 was fine coming from chalky soil with very subtle oaking and the ’13 Le Carroir €13.9 was full of flowers and lemons with the oak still obvious on the nose. In the range of Pinots, the entry level one was similar to a Bourgogne Rouge. The more serious ones, ’10 Le Carroir was light red with cherries and the ’12 Le Cris came from old vines and had a lot more oak with a hint of mushrooms on the nose – a much bigger wine. We bought the Sauvignons but more to the point is that the wines we liked were also available in half bottles. We will definitely get some for the halfwine webstore.
Domaine Vacheron1 Rue du Puits Poulton, 18300 Sancerre Tel 02 48 54 09 93
Dm Vacheron street entrance
Dm Vacheron tasting room
The streets of Sancerre are pretty narrow but you can drive to Vacheron. We tasted 3 of their whites; the Domaine (€13 or €7.50 for a half bottle), the Les Romains from Silex flinty clay-based soils and the Guigne-Chèvres from calcium rich soils (both €23). The flint and calcium wines were very different. The calcium soil produced a very flowery, round wine whilst the flint soil produced a minerally elegant wine with not a hint of flowers. A very impressive demonstration of terroir. The Domaine wine was a blend of both soil types with a flowery nose and citrus-dominated palate. We bought some of all these wines.
Great place for a picnic lunch with a view from the hill of Sancerre
DOMAINE WILLIAM FEVRE10 rue Jules Rathier, Chablis Tel 03 86 42 12 06
First stop in Chablis was Fevre as it always is – our benchmarh Chablis producer. They pulled out all the stops and we tasted 8 ’13 wines, 4 ’12 and 5 Grand Cru ranging in price from €12.75 for the ’13 Domaine Chablis (or €7 for a half bottle) to €60.90 for the ’13 Grand Cru les Clos. Tasting so many wines in quick succession is a bit mind blowing; we preferred the ‘13s to the ‘12s; the grand crus were fabulous. We bought the domaine premier cru Vaillons (€25.75), being the one we preferred most from the flash of premier crus.
DOMAINE BILLAUD-SIMON1 Ruelle de Reugny, 89800 Chablis Tel 03 86 42 10 33
Being somewhat late on a Friday afternoon the person who was still there was not up for a tasting but, based on last year’s tasting (see here), we bought he Montee de Tonnerre (€28.60) despite the 40% price rise (nice if you can get away with it).
FRANCK BONVILLE9 rue Pasteur - 51190 Avize Tel : 03 26 57 52 30
We called in to organise the delivery of their Blanc de Blanc and Rosé champagnes (see here). The Blanc de Blancs Brut (€18) is made from three vintages. We often find Blanc de Blancs too tart for our taste but this is not; it has great fruit and finesse. The Brut Rosé (€20) is also more subtle and finer than your average rosé champagne which is why we selected it for you.
VOIRIN-JUMEL555 Rue Libération, 51530 Cramant, France Tel +33 3 26 57 55 82
We called in primarily to see how their barrel fermented champagne was progressing but decided to do a taste test of their Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc (€18.70 and €10.10 for a half bottle). This was fruity and elegant so we bought some. We were still happy with the selection of the Bonville for the website but this is a good back-up. The Cuvée 555 (€28.10) made from barrel fermented and matured chardonnay did not have the same elegance as a Burgundy and we got the impression in discussion with the owner that it might not be made again. The label is very fancy with gold ‘555’ on black velvet – one of a kind.
H GOUTORBE9 bis, rue Jeanson; Aÿ, 51160; T 03 26 55 21 70
We have tasted and bought at Goutorbe many times in the past and our favourite is their Prestige (€17.50) which also come in half bottles which are now available on our website (see here).
ALLOUCHERY-PERSEVAL11 Rue de l'Église, 51500 Écueil, France Tel +33 3 26 49 74 61
We tasted Allouchery-Perseval’s champagnes at a tasting in London and were impressed. They make a number of Blanc de Noir, that is, white wine from red grapes. Theirs are made from Pinot Noir rather than Pinot Meunier (the other black grape used to make champagne) which is more common in the Vallée de la Marne. We find the Pinot Meunier makes wines that are too fruity to our taste; we prefer the elegance and restrained fruit that Pinot Noir gives. Extra Brut Tradition (€16.20) is an excellent example and has the added benefit of a dosage with only 3 gms sugar.