Jean-Laurent Vacheron is fiercely protective of his vines
Jean-Dominique Vacheron tasting in the family cellars
Last Wednesday evening I had the unusual pleasure of seeing Jean-Dominique and Jean Laurent Vacheron in London to launch their extended range of single vineyard terroir wines. Unusual because we normally see the Vacheron family in Sancerre. The Vacheron family have long had two single vineyard wines – Les Romains on flint for their white and La Belle Dame, also on flint, for their red.
As well as the new wines – Le Paradis, Chambrates and Guigne-Chèvres – being a logical extension to their two single vineyard wines – La Belle Dame (first vintage 1995) and Les Romains (first vintage 1997), this is a further indication of the Loire’s far greater affinity to Burgundy rather than Bordeaux. This is perhaps not a surprise for Sancerre – after all Pouilly-sur-Loire on the eastern bank of the Loire is administratively in Burgundy. However, one might assume that much of the rest of the Loire with its attachment to Cabernet Franc would look towards Bordeaux. This is by no means the case. Producers, like Thierry Germain and Jean-Pierre Chevallier for example, find that they have far more in common with Burgundy and their detailed classification based on terroir than they do of Bordeaux, which to a considerable extent is classified by ownership. Furthermore the Loire, like Burgundy, remains a region where the family continues to play a very important role.
Single vineyard wines are already well established in the Loire with the Clos de l’Echo perhaps the most famous. In Sancerre there have long been some well established single vineyards such as Les Monts Damnés and Culs de Beaujeu in Chavignol, Le Chêne-Marchand and le Clos de la Poussie (the latter sadly much abused by its current owner).
All the wines shown over dinner at Hibiscus were 2010 with the exception of the 2008 Belle Dame.
Mise en bouche
2010 Sancerre, Domaine Vacheron
Velouté of pumpkin, Crozier Blue cheese, truffle Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Blanc
Carpaccio of Isle of Skye scallops, radish and truffle
Le Paradis – steep south facing vineyard on limestone and sandstone
Salad of Devonshire crab wrapped in new season turnip, ginger, cream and smoked olive oil dressing Guigne Chèvres
Roast skate wing, fricassée of Scottish girolle mushrooms, Morteau sausage, Lancashire mead sauce Les Romains – from vines on silex (flint). This is a Vacheron classic having been released as a single vineyard wine since 1997 from vines planted in 1968.
Roast pheasant, artichoke and English mustard purée, Barigoule sauce
Belle Dame 2008, Sancerre Rouge. Belle Dame planted on flint and has beenb released as a single vineyard wine since 1995.
Cerney cheese, sea buckthorn gel, apple and Szechuan pepper compote
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Nice. I think the lady who was managing the Ledbury went there last year, but has since moved on to open a pub (according to UK wine forum).
Looks like a terrific evening Jim.
Bob/cold snowy Alberta.
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