There is little doubt that the commune of Chavignol can be informally considered to be a (or even the) grand cru of Sancerre. If we add the wine-making skills of Francois Cotat to the equation we then have one of the finest exponents of age-worthy sauvignon blanc. Wonderful wines are produced by Francois year-after-year and they remain highly recommended.
Cotat's style of Sancerre owes much to the propitiously sited vineyards on Kimmeridgian clay and Caillottes (pebbles). His holdings span the steepest slopes of the appellation. Cultivation is arduous and must be done entirely by hand.
2017 Francois Cotat’s calls ‘typically, atypical’. Having luckily avoided the frost that plagued the lower lying areas of the region, his fortunate situation of having holdings mainly on the slopes. A long ripening season made sure the grapes were perfectly ripe and a small dose of rain just before the harvest kept the fruit fresh.
The 2017’s are richer and denser than previous vintages, but with that trademark acidity that delight Cotat drinkers. We feel these will be for more immediate drinking that other years and are utterly delicious now!
2017 Sancerre, Les Caillottes - £105 per six in bond.
A charming introduction to the Cotat style, with an open nose of stone fruit, whilst the palate is drier and more savoury than the rather exuberant aromatics would suggest. Rich with the classic Cotat texture, creamy and almost oily with a pleasing acidity and dry, stony feel to the finish. 13% abv, dry.
2017 Sancerre, Les Monts Damnes - £150 per six in bond.
As ever, this is the most mineral and austere of the range, beginning with the leafy and herbal nose which immediately indicates a step up in seriousness from the Caillottes. This is a wine that is all about texture, the fruit currently restrained and somewhat hidden, however, the stony textural elements provide an extension to what is already a long and refreshing finish. You really feel that this is a terroir-wine deeply rooted in its limestone soil. 13.5% abv, approximately 1.5g/ltr residual sugar.
2017 Sancerre, Les Culs de Beaujeu - £150 per six in bond.
As one would expect this is a broader and more powerful expression, with riper peach fruit on the nose alongside exotic spices. The palate feels very intense, with both richness and acidity. Long, complex and pure with layers of flavour which jostle for attention before culminating in a fine, saline finish. Vin de garde. 14% abv, approximately 3g/ltr residual sugar.
2017 Sancerre La Grande Cote - £174 per six in bond.
Production of this cuvée has returned to more or less normal levels now that François’ young vines - planted six years ago - have come into production (unfortunately soil erosion had meant that he had to grub up a number of old vines). Perhaps it is auto-suggestion but there is certainly a little more youthful exuberance to this wine now, with some peach fruit accompanying the smoky, spicy mineral elements and the hallmark aniseed notes one always finds in this wine. A wine which builds discreetly from the middle and finishes on notes of chalk and spice. 14% abv, approximately 5g/ltr residual sugar.
2017 Sancerre Rose - £96 per six in bond.
This is a proper rosé colour, with a vibrant pink hue. The nose has charming red berry aromas whilst the palate begins with savoury hints, morphing into cranberry and crushed strawberry. This is not at all frivolous; there is serious grip and minerality to the finish. Most certainly a food wine. 13 to 13.5% abv, dry.
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