When someone is as earnest in his belief in biodynamism as Vincent is, it’s easy to mock all the seemingly crazy things he does – signing off e-mails with Biologiquement Vôtre (“organically yours”), following the biodynamic calendar closely, even naming one of his Sancerre blanc cuvées after Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the biodynamic movement. But a look at the vineyards, a sip of the wine, and one begins to wonder whether there isn’t something more to biodynamism.
When he took over the family domaine in 1993, Vincent immediately started switching over to organic agriculture, convinced that this was the only way to farm sustainably. As he delved more into the specifics of farming with each vintage, he moved ever closer to adopting biodynamism, finally gaining Demeter certification in 2004. The 8 hectare domaine has both dominant soil types in Sancerre, clay-chalk (often called terres blanches for their white colour) and weathered, compacted chalk (caillotes), but Vincent also has several silex-heavy parcels, which always produce wines of shimmering minerality.
Vincent makes four, sometimes five, different Sauvignon Blanc cuvées and two Pinot Noirs, all of which we import. Le Tournebride is the early-drinking, most Sancerre-like of all his Sauvignon Blancs, made from an assemblage of grapes from all three soil types. It’s intense, clean and finishes beautifully. The old vines cuvée, Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes, is chalk-based, and has more richness both on the nose and palate, while L’Esprit de Rudolf (named for Rudolf Steiner), has a smoky quality from the silex soils. The latter is stunning when given some air, and ages beautifully. A mi-chemin (“Halfway”) is perhaps the most exotic, often pushing against the limits of what should be possible in Sancerre. We adore this wine. Of the red wines, Vincengétorix is a handy reminder that Sancerre used to be predominantly Pinot Noir country, with a pleasing crunch on the mid-palate, while Le Sang des Serfs is bright and minerally, a worthy alternative to Burgundy.
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