Tag Archives: Domaine Vacheron

All things bright and beautiful (Sancerre, France – Day Two)

Sancerre is another one of those wine words that is almost a synonym for white wine. The white wines have been well known along time not only in France but also in the UK, where as has been suggested by Chris Kissack, Sancerre is an easy name to say and thus ask for. Sancerre is on the Loire River and is thus part of the valley, but it is a long way even from Touraine let alone the western parts of the Loire. It is actually closer to Burgundy which it has more in common in terms of terroir, climate and even varieties. The AOC for Sancerre white wines was created in 1936 around the same time that most of the AOCs in the Loire Valley were established. The cultivation of grapes in this part of France is believed to date back to the Roman era, so it has a much longer history. The name is taken from the village where a castle once stood with nine towers, only one of which remains. This hill and surrounding slopes make it ideal for viticulture in a pretty cool climate, as the exposure to the sun improves ripeness. This is in contrast to Touraine which is a little more flat but also a little warmer. The key grape variety here is sauvignon blanc and is without question the best known place for the variety. 20% of the vineyards however are planted to pinot noir which produce both red and rose wines for which an additional AOC was created in 1959. With the market changing away from sancerre red wines they are beginning to produce more rose wine which is in a very light dry and food-friendly style. The white wines differ depending mostly on the specific terroir on which the vineyards are planted, and also a little on how the wines are vinified.
Always work to be done in the vineyards

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Domaine Vacheron – 27/11/2012

Classic 2011
Lovely bright and pure. Wonderfully crisp and mineralic on the nose, subtle but noticeable green herb component, citrus and a delicate passionfruit character. Mouth filling but light and clean, crisp balanced and pure, wonderful palate weight and roundness, approachable and yet elegant, harmonious and complete in the mouth, but still aromatic and fruit-driven.

Guigne-Chevres 2011
A slightly more flinty minerality, tighter citrus notes, a little more subtle and even a bit floral. Extremely young and still not expressing a lot, but wonderfully direct and focused on the palate. Good ripe but not overt fruit character, integrated and elegant, quite subtle.

Les Romains 2011
Less minerality but more complex, combination of fruit, floral and some earthier contexts too. Richer and bolder yet still very restrained and elegant. Depth and breadth more prominent, also a little denser with more weight on the palate. More texture to it, showing slightly more barrel characters in youth.

Chambrates 2010
Creamier and a little vanilla root on the nose, riper and more concentrated fruits, approaching stone fruit and sweet citrus notes. A little gun barrel flint on the nose, even a touch of incense. Bright ripe pear but very complex in structure, a little oxidatively complex, integrated oak influence, wonderfully concentrated. Approaching a more masculine style of sancerre.

Le Paradis 2010
Really intense passionfruit flower and skin, ripe juicy citrus fruits, grapefruit and mandarin, very aromatic. A really intense passionfruit carries through onto the palate, still quite young and needs some more time to relax and open up a little.

Rouge 2011
Bright black fruits and cherries, but also a slightly medicinal herbal edge to it. A little stalky like a NZ PN. Smooth straight and light, brisk and clean, balanced with just enough fruit ripeness and not so much oak to interfere. Good purity and harmony, but not really an ageing wine. Great drinking.

Belle Dame 2008
Denser and oakier on the nose, much more concentrated brooding and masculine. Even a little wild at times but still understandable. Rich bold and ripe, some great fruit but also some savoury earth and tomato leaf mint characters. Quite dense with expressive grippy but not heavy tannins. Tight, still very young.

Belle Dame 2009
Very quite and subdued, subtle and closed. Darker fruit less bright, perhaps as it has been open for a week. Warmer vintage very bold and powerful, supple and silky. More of a red wine vintage, tightly wound but richer and fuller structure.

Belle Dame 2010
Earthy concentrated nose, dark but very closed fruit, fascinating savoury characters entice me to discover more. Quite tightly coiled, a lot less fruit but very concentrated. Very full in the mouth with a lot going on. Needs a lot of time to soften open and become more approachable. Really amazing structure with so much potential for ageing. One of the best reds from the Loire I have tasted. Incredibly long on the palate.

Rose 2011
Bright strawberries and floral notes but also a little minerality and some wild savoury notes. Juicy ripe a little bit of R/S, full yet light and approachable. Pleasant balanced extremely food-friendly, but genuine and very drinkable.
Some of the Vacheron wines along with some local rocks

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