Gérard Boulay can trace his families roots in Chavignol back to 1380 when the first mention of their wine was recorded. 20+ generations on, Gérard and wife Lucie are making some of the best Sancerre on the market, some say the best though they’ve got pretty good company in Chavignol, the tiny village and stony hillside considered to be the source of the finest Sauvignon Blanc in the world.
The Boulays farm 8 hectares of vines in Chavignol with the youngest vines having been planted in 1972. This is the Kimmeridgian terre blanche that’s the key to the distinctive quality of these wines. Organic farming, very low yields, native yeasts, minimal sulfur and no filtration. Everything done by hand. These aren’t your typical gooseberry and cat pee inflected Sancerres but a different thing entirely.
The 2014 vintage in the Loire was a little tough at the outset but perfect weather conditions in the month or so leading up to harvest have left us with one of the best vintages in recent memory and a decently sized harvest to boot. This is Sauvignon at its most complex with notes of chalk, lemon pulp, crushed seashells and a mouth filling texture with crystal clear flavors of fruit and mineral. Long and persistent, this wine drinks well beyond its tariff. Not much available due to the small production so this is almost sure to be the only wine I’ll be getting this year. Sancerre Rosé is one of the prettiest styles France has to offer and the Boulay bottling is always my favorite. Most producers in Sancerre make a rosé with their young Pinot Noir vines but Boulay has nothing but old vines so this is it. Gérard harvests the Pinot specifically to make a direct press rosé meaning a bit on the early side to preserve acidity and freshness. Very pale with pretty with a cloud of small red fruits and mineral on the nose and pure refreshment on the palate. Not much to go around and always disappears quickly.