Upper Loire, France
Sancerre – Chavignol
At Henri Bourgeois; Chavignol; T 02 48 78 53 20 we tasted a full range of Chavignol / Sancerre Sauvignon Blancs and those from Clos Henri, their New Zealand operation. Since our last visit more than 5 years ago the move to wooded Sauvignons has extended. Further tastings in the upper Loire indicated that they are not alone in this move. Unfortunately it is a style we don’t like or agree with and it means that the wines are more expensive. We far preferred their former single vineyard, unwooded approach when in our view the Chavignol wines were superb. Eventually we bought the unwooded MD de Bourgeois 2008 (€12.90) which we thought the best of the bunch but no match to the Chavignol of old.
Near the entrance to the village we tasted the wines of Roger & Chrstophe Moreaux (also in Sancerre T +33 248 540 579). We tried Sauvignon Blanc and Sancerre rouge from vineyards on the hill in front of their tasting room. Bought the Sancerre blanc ‘08 (€10).
This area was the pleasant surprise of the tour. We had drunk several bottles of Sauvignon Blanc from the area before which prompted this visit. We were not disappointed. To the contrary we agreed the area was worth a full half day the next time.
We started our tastings at Dm Chavet; Menetou Salon; T 02 48 64 80 87. We tasted unwooded and wooded ‘08 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and Rose. Liked the unwooded Sauvignon Blanc and Rose (€7.50). Preferred the wooded Pinot, but even at the price (€9) was not interested. Bought the unwooded Sauvignon Blanc.
Dm de Chatenoy; on the road between and Menetou-Salon and Parassy; T 02 48 66 68 70. A serious step up in class of wine. As at the previous Dm, they insisted that we taste the reds first. Tasted unwooded and wooded Pinot Noir and unwooded Sauvignon Blanc. Again preferred wooded Pinot but wondered why they bothered. Bought the ’09 Sauvignon Blanc (€9.30).
The next winery we went to because we had had a bottle for dinner the previous night in Bourges that we liked. Dm Pelle; Morogues; T 02 48 64 42 48. We tasted a range of ’08 Sauvignon Blancs covering the region, village and individual vineyards. Bought the Morogues Blanc (€8.70) and the individual vineyard wines Vignes de Ratier and les Blanchais (€13.50).
The last place we went to before lunch was not as prepossessing as the others. Cave Turpin; 11 place de l’eglise, Morogues; T 02 48 64 32 24. Despite the cigarette smell the wines were pretty good. Tasted ’08 unwooded, sur lie, slightly wooded sauvignon blancs. Bought the unwooded (€6.60).