2023 Domaine Pierre Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre Rosé "La Croix Poignant"
2023 Domaine Pierre Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre Rosé "La Croix Poignant"

2023 Domaine Pierre Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre Rosé "La Croix Poignant"

Loire Valley, France 2023 (750mL)
Regular price$32.00

2023 Domaine Pierre Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre Rosé "La Croix Poignant"

 Rosé season is upon us, and with it comes our favorite annual conundrum: what pink wine will we be stocking our fridges with all summer long? There’s plenty of salmon-hued beauties in the pipeline, but Pierre Cherrier’s Sancerre Rosé “La Croix Poignant” jumped the gun and is already way ahead of the pack. Honestly, it’s no surprise. Cherrier’s Sauvignon Blanc-based bottlings are mainstays both in our offers and at our dinner tables. Their rosé–from the same incredible single vineyard as the estate’s flagship white–shimmers with the chalky minerality and saline edge we cherish in the finest wines from this famous village, just in a joyful, juicy, berry-inflected form. It’s deliciously complete for such a young wine, ready to thrill at any sunny cookout or warm evening on the porch. If there’s one summer bottle to load up on by the case, this is it!

 Like great Mosel Riesling from blue slate or classified growth Bordeaux grown in gravel, the best Sancerre comes from one type of soil, in this case what’s known locally as “terres blanches”. It’s the stuff of sommelier dreams, part of the same geological formation that underpins Chablis and Champagne, imbuing wines grown in it with profound mineral cut and salty freshness. And before the village’s rise to international fame, Sancerre more or less only came from terres blanches. But once it became one of the most famous names in wine, plantings quickly spread into richer and heavier soils, resulting in simpler, less distinctive wines. The Cherrier family, though, practically only farms in terres blanches. Their most prized holding is “La Croix Poignant,” underlain entirely with the stuff.  There they grow old Sauvignon Blanc vines, as well as a precious few acres of Pinot Noir destined for today’s rosé.

The Cherrier family is a classic story of small scale vignerons passing their lovingly-tended holdings down through the generations. That makes something of an outlier in the region these days. Just as vineyards have spread to the most mundane sites in the wake of Sancerre’s rise, so too have once artisanal operations become something more like wine factories, pumping out gallons upon gallons of mundane Sauvignon Blanc. Machine harvesters ripping through poorly farmed, overcropped vineyards are the norm here nowadays. But not at Cherrier. In the early 1900s, Maurice Cherrier planted vines in Chaudoux, just north of the town of Sancerre itself. Now  has changed since then beyond a few technical improvements in the cellar. “La Croix Poignant” is farmed sustainably, with organic treatments; yields are kept low to emphasize quality over quantity; ferments proceed spontaneously and wines see only minimal filtration before bottling, if any at all. Cherrier is, in short, what great Sancerre used to taste like, and that’s no less true of their rosé than it is of their whites.

The “La Croix Poignant” rosé comes from a small section of Pinot Noir within the vineyard. The Cherrier clan hand harvests the fruit, presses it gently, then ferments it in temperature controlled stainless steel and ages it on the fine lees for a few months before bottling. The result is a wine that’s shockingly balanced and ready to go given its youth. It pours a delicate salmon pink with flecks of silver. Terres blanches announces itself from the first pour, the nose leaping out of the glass with pulverized chalk, and seaspray. Delicate white strawberry, pomegranate, raspberry, pink flowers, and blood orange zest follow behind. It’s stony and linear on the palate, but there’s surprising texture here too, a gentle fleshiness rounding out the energetic core. Given its youth, we expect it to open up quite a bit even just over the next few months, taking on more obvious fruit tones. But it’s undeniably delicious right now, ready to be pounded or pondered, tableside or poolside!

2023 Domaine Pierre Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre Rosé "La Croix Poignant"

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