2022 Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge
2022 Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge

2022 Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge

Loire Valley, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$55.00

2022 Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge

Sancerre is a white wine, right? Actually it comes in all three colors, and throughout May we’ll be offering one of each. I’m kicking things off with a longstanding outlier favorite: Domaine Vacheron’s Sancerre Rouge. The same type of soils–mostly limestone–that make Pinot Noir shine in Burgundy are here in the Eastern Loire, and thanks to increasingly warmer summers the terroir is suddenly ideal for producing exceptionally elegant, deeply complex red wines that offer tremendous value. Leading the charge are the Vacheron Cousins, who are no strangers to the SommSelect faithfull. Impeccable, biodynamic farming and bluechip Burgundian training are the essential ingredients in this sneaky-great bottle of Pinot that you can lay down next to your Premier and Grand Crus with full confidence. 

Domaine Vacheron, as most of you know, is a first-ballot SommSelect Hall-of-Famer. When cousins Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron took the helm of this family estate, their parents had already expanded a tiny property into a highly regarded Sancerre address. So J-L and J-D set about making it into a globally recognized destination for fine wine. They converted all their vineyards to biodynamic farming (certified since 2005) and began adding small parcels from some of the best sites in the region. Their philosophy is most easily described as “Burgundian,” with a focus on understanding and identifying all the subtle differences that can be found in the geology of their vineyards and then transferring those distinctions of terroir into their wines. 

This focus on terroir is not surprising given that Jean-Laurent spent his formative years working and learning with Aubert de Villaine at the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Not a bad way to gain insight into coaxing the maximum potential from acclaimed parcels of vines! And that is exactly what he and his cousin have accomplished over the past couple of decades. This approach has yielded some of the most acclaimed white wines of the entire Loire Valley, but it is arguably even more important when farming and vinifying the “other” grape of Sancerre: Pinot Noir. 

As always J-L and J-D start in the vineyard, where they handpick and sort the perfectly ripe clusters before fermenting with native yeasts in steel tanks. The fermentation is very gentle, with minimal stirring, in order to achieve the most elegant, terroir driven wine possible (hello, DRC!), and once complete the wine is racked into a combination of neutral French oak barriques and foudres to age for about a year before bottling. Unlike some of their neighbors, the Vacheron Rouge is not an afterthought in order to have some red wine around, it is a focus and a passion, and given the warming climate the cousins believe it may eventually overtake Sauvignon Blanc as the key grape of Sancerre. 

While most everything about the Vacheron Rouge screams Burgundy–and not just average Bourgogne Rouge, this wine goes toe to toe with Premier Crus–there are some subtle distinctions. The most important is that some of the vines are planted to silex soils, aka flint, which lends a distinct hint of smoky minerality to the wine. But once you get this into a large Burgundy stem the classic aromas of spiced cherries, crushed raspberries, dried roses, orange zest, pomegranate seeds, anisette, and wet earth are all present in droves. In the past Sancerre Rouge was generally a light, and sometimes underripe, rendition of Pinot, but not anymore. This is a perfectly textured, medium bodied, silky, sensual, pitch-perfect example of the world famous grape. Given the immense pedigree and pleasure in every bottle it’s also a tremendous deal, and one that will reward you even further if you can lose a few bottles in the cellar. Stock up!

2022 Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge

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