Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Sancerre – visits in October 2015: Luc Prieur of Domaine Paul Prieur

This is the start of a short series on producers who I visited when in Sancerre and Pouilly in mid-October – kicking off with Luc Prieur of Domaine Paul Prieur in Verdigny.

Given the sustained success of Sancerre you might imagine that the younger generation of producers might be inclined to rest up on the appellation's reputation. More interesting in buying monogrammed, turbo-charged lawnmowers than seeking to continually make better wines. There may, indeed be some who are inclined to take their ease. There are, however, a good number who are keen to further enhance reputations established by the previous generation. 

Perhaps it is the memory and history of the hard times in the Berry and how dramatically this area has changed over the past 60 years that helps to inspire and provide the motivation and work ethic to continue to try to improve not forgetting the constant competition from New Zealand and other countries. Even so it would be easy to be complacent.  

Amongst the established 'younger' generation in Sancerre, Florent and Clément Pinard, Alphonse Mellot jnr, Jean-Dominique and Jean-Laurent Vacheron, François Crochet, Arnaud and Jean-Christophe Bourgeois plus Paul and Benoît Fouassier obviously come to mind. It is good to see another wave of young producers coming through – Matthieu Delaporte and his friend Luc Prieur of Domaine Paul Prieur    

Following an exchange of emails we went to see Luc Prieur at the domaine in Verdigny on Monday 12th October. There are now two Prieur domaines in the village of Verdigny – Pierre Prieur and Paul Prieur – where there once was one. Luc explained that in the 1960s/70s two separate domaines were created. 

Luc Prieur

In 2011 Luc spent in the England and South Africa before returning to the domaine to vinify the 2012 vintage. He took full charge in 2013 working with his uncle Philippe, who is also a musician. Luc is the 11th generation of the family to work their vines. His father Didier and grandfather Paul, now 93, are still present at the domaine. They now has 19 hectares of vines (14 of Sauvignon Blanc and 5 Pinot Noir) with parcels in some of the best sites in the Sancerre appellation including Les Monts Damnés, Bouffants, Les Garennes, Paradis and the home parcel of Les Pichons, which planted with Pinot Noir. 

Looking across Les Pichons with town 
of Sancerre in distance  

 Luc Prieur
"We haven't used weedkillers, insecticides or anti-rot sprays for the last three years," Luc explained. "We started single vineyard bottlings in 2012. My grandmother was the first in Verdigny to start bottling our wines."     
We had a slightly accelerated tasting as Luc had to leave early evening to catch a train to Paris. Amongst the Sancerres we tasted that impressed were the ripe and concentrated 2014 Vendange à la main, Sancerre (11€), the starting to evolve 2012 Monts Damnés (the first vintage) though it is still quite tight in the finish, the truffley and excellent 2010 Sancerre – very clean and precise and finally a superbly honeyed and rich 2014 Vendange Tardive with the grapes picked on 30th October with a potential of 21%. 

Luc is certainly a young producer to follow. We will doubtless be back!   

To come: Gérard Boulay, Catherine Corbeau Mellot of Joseph Mellot and Sébastien and Romain Redde of Michel Redde.  


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