Log In Sign Up

Domaine Vacheron, “Chambrates” Sancerre BlancLoire Valley, France 2019 (750mL)

The Daily Offer

Domaine Vacheron, “Chambrates” Sancerre Blanc Loire Valley, France 2019 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

A friend and fellow wine professional recently posted a New Year’s resolution to “drink more high-quality Sancerre.” He is a very Burgundy-centric guy, mind you, and Burgundy guys don’t give shout-outs to many other whites. But he’s smart, and right, to home in on Sancerre, and if I may be so bold, I’ll put Vacheron’s epic “Chambrates” right at the top of the target list. Put simply, it’s impossible not to compare it to Grand Cru white Burgundy.


Yes, it’s Sauvignon Blanc, not Chardonnay, but the chalky limestone soils of Chambrates are a dead ringer for those found in Burgundy, and the profound impact of this 2019 on both the palate and brain rivals anything coming from the Côte de Beaune’s most iconic sites. Now look at the price: about a third of what you’ll pay for most Grand Cru white Burgundy. I’m not sure why, but with very few exceptions, the elite wines of Sancerre do not fetch the same three- and four-figure prices of their elite Burgundian counterparts. Especially in a ripe, generous vintage like 2019, Chambrates delivers all the body, structure, and minerality one could ask for in a white—it’s as memorable as any white we could offer, something our subscribers have come to expect from Vacheron. The across-the-board quality of this estate’s wines is simply phenomenal, and the fact that a little bit of a wine like “Chambrates” can slip past top restaurant buyers and collectors and into our hands is cause for celebration. Grab some today and chalk it up among your shrewdest wine investments. You’ll see what I mean when you pull the first cork.




In fact, it’s getting increasingly difficult to write about Vacheron, because they continue to outdo themselves. The Vacheron cousins, Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique, take a decidedly “Burgundian” approach in the vineyards and cellar, vinifying their wines parcel-by-parcel to showcase different terroir expressions. Most of their vineyards—34 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and 11 of Pinot Noir—are planted on silex (flint), but the “Chambrates” site—a broad, south-facing plateau—is a very rocky mix of clay and shattered Jurassic limestone. It’s one of six different single-vineyard bottlings the Vacherons make, each one showcasing a unique combination of soil type, exposition, and microclimate. Although there are other famous “cru” bottlings from Sancerre—like the various expressions of the “Les Monts Damnés” vineyard—no one in Sancerre offers the diversity of terroir expression found in the Vacheron lineup.


Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique were relatively early adopters of biodynamic viticulture, having been certified back in 2005, and their natural approach is reflected in the purity and pulsating energy of their wines. They plow their soils, fertilize with natural compost, plant cover crops between the rows of vines, and hand-harvest much smaller yields than their neighbors. The pristine grapes are gently pressed then fermented with only natural yeasts in open-top wooden fermenters, and when fermentation is complete, the Chambrates is racked (transferred to another vessel) and then returned to those same barrels for a year of aging before bottling.


For those of you who may have snatched up one of Vacheron’s other single-vineyard wines (like the finely chiseled “Le Paradis” bottling), Chambrates is considered the broadest, most textured wine in the bunch. It still hums with Vacheron’s trademark mineral tension, but there’s a muscularity to it that owes at least in part to the full-south exposure of the site. This is high-impact white wine that is built to age: In the glass, it’s a classic straw-yellow with hints of green at the rim, leaping from the glass and grabbing you by the lapels with scents of white grapefruit, tangerine, lemon curd, fresh ginger, chopped green herbs, crushed chalk, and a touch of warm spice. It is medium-plus in body, with a taut structure right now—but after a 30- to 45-minute decant, its layers start to unravel and a tsunami of flavor and aroma floods the senses. I’d opt for larger stems and a temperature of 50-55 degrees to really get the full Chambrates experience—and maybe some of your favorite sushi and sashimi to pair with it. Fattier cuts like toro will be especially good, but if you prefer your fish cooked, attached is a delicious recipe we’ve shared before. This is wine-and-food pairing at the highest possible level. Enjoy!




Domaine Vacheron, “Chambrates” Sancerre Blanc Loire Valley, France 2019 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionLoire Valley
  • Sub-RegionSancerre
  • SoilLimestone & Clay
  • FarmingOrganic & Biodynamic
  • BlendSauvignon Blanc
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakUsed French Barrels

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionLoire Valley
  • Sub-RegionSancerre
  • SoilLimestone & Clay
  • FarmingOrganic & Biodynamic
  • BlendSauvignon Blanc
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakUsed French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 50-55° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2029
  • Decanting30-45 Minutes
  • PairingSzechuan Tuna w/ Dijon Mustard-Ginger Sauce