Domaine Pierre Martin (Loire Valley, Chavignol)
Special Pre-Arrival mix and match offer below...
Your first stunning glimpse of Sancerre comes after driving across the Sologne, from the west, the Touraine receding in the rearview mirror. The trip seems interminably long, through verdant countryside and fields of cereal grains as far the eye can see. After rounding a bend in the road, Sancerre's steep vineyards suddenly come into view. Tumbling down the hillsides, the vines crouch low to the ground, as if your arrival has shocked them.
You must stop the car. Any refusal to in these magnificent, perfectly lined vineyards, with their small nuggets of chalk and limestone blanketing the ground as if there had a been a snow, is unseemly. To the east, the old village of Sancerre looms in the distance, standing guard. You get the immediate sense you're in an important place.
Sancerre is one of three winegrowing areas in France that are a "golden triangle" for wines--or more appropriately, "a thin white line." From the vineyards of Sancerre stretching north toward Auxerre and finally ending in Epernay, there is a typical geography that connects the three--the famous Kimmeridgian soils, a chalky marl that is capped by Portlandian limestone. From space, one could almost visualize an island chain of great wine villages, connected on the surface by these ancient white stones. At the table, it is easier to imagine a fine Champagne, a cru Chablis, and a lush Sancerre, framing the forthcoming meal.
There are 350 independent wineries in Sancerre, 25 grower/negociants, and only 1 cooperative. Over 7000 acres are planted to vines (nearly 80% of the entire surface area) of which 3/4 are planted to Sauvignon Blanc. The appellation has been fully exploited for years by wine lovers and connoisseurs. Finding something new is virtually impossible. Getting a winemaker to return an email is a challenge.
About 5 years ago we called on an energetic young vigneron named Pierre Martin. And he dealt us into the game. His wines have been among the sought after in our portfolio ever since.
Pierre assumed responsibility for his father's domaine about 10 years ago. His vineyards surrounding the village of Chavignol are among the best of the region. Everybody knows it. His parcels in Culs de Beaujeu and Mont Damnés are small, but the envy of other wineries nearby.
When Pierre offered us a small quantity of each, we didn't contain our excitement. He jokingly suggested we "place the order tomorrow, and then pay the bill by Friday." So that's what we're doing!
Sancerre Chavignol Blanc 2019 is just downright delicious. Everything I love in an entry level Sancerre--concentrated grapefruit rind, an explosion of lemongrass and Asian spices, and a rich, long finish. Elizabeth begs me to bring this home.
Sancerre Chavignol Rouge 2018 might be the most exciting Pinot Noir I've tasted so far this year. To hear Pierre say it, there are only about a dozen wineries in all of Sancerre that should be making a bottled red wine, and of course, humbly, his is one. We agree. A ripe vintage like 2018 really provided a magnficent bottle that will age beautifully for 10 years.
Sancerre Culs de Beaujeu 2018 comes from a 1 hectare plot toward the west of the village that is surrounded by oak and acacia trees. A splash of old oak barrels seem to lend a fatty richness to this wine but in the end it is Sancerre through and through with bracing, lipsmacking, almost salty minerality.
Sancerre Monts Damnés 2018 is my favorite of Pierre's wines, but also the most precious. He can only allocate us a few cases from his 2000 bottles produced. It is simply a wonderful wine with layer upon layer of rich, lemon balm wonderful-ness. Drink it now or celebrate with it 10 years from now. Full stop perhaps among the five best Sancerre of the region.
Mix and match any of the four wines below to receive the following discount:
- 3 bottles--10% off
- 6 bottles--15% off
- 12 bottles--20% off
Wines are expected to arrive and be ready for pickup and shipping in August 2020.