Domaine Andre Dezat
Sauvignon Blanc, I feel, is taken for granted these days. Like pale rosé, it is associated with quantity rather than quality, and that’s a shame as it is responsible for some truly exceptional wines. It is grown in most wine producing countries (although I wish it wasn’t in some cases …) and it does particularly well in places such as New Zealand, Italy, California and France, where it produces wines well beyond the sum of their parts. It is also a great blending grape making up, for example, 80% of one of the world’s finest white wines, Haut-Brion Blanc. Personally, I’m not a fan of ‘Marlborough style’; give me a minerally Italian Sauvignon from Cantina Terlano any day, but, I think, if I had to take a pure Sauvignon Blanc to a desert island it would be a Sancerre from a top producer, with Pouilly-Fumé a very close second. Both age well, both add something to a variety of dishes, and if I’m to live off fish and shellfish then there is nothing better.
André Dezat wines are the epitome of fine Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé and yet remain terrific value.
After taking over the family vineyards in 1948, André Dezat played a prominent role in bringing the world’s attention to the region of Sancerre. Under the direction of his sons, Louis and Simon, now joined by his grandsons, Arnaud and Firmin, the firm continues to lead the way in producing beautifully ripe Pinot Noir as well as clean, elegant, and minerally Sauvignon in both Sancerre and, more recently, Pouilly-Fumé. The difference between Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé lies in the soils. Geological faults in the Sancerrois caused the mixing of different strata and the creation of a wide variety of soils, the principal ones being the famous “Terres blanches” (calcareous clay), the pebbly limestone “Caillottes” and siliceous clay, that can produce a slightly riper, richer wine. In Pouilly-Fumé, one finds a mixture of Kimmeridgian marls, hard limestone and flint that give the wines their lively minerality. The differences are subtle, but in the hands of a winemaker who respects the terroirs they are clear enough.
Price is GBP per 6 x 75cl inclusive of VAT, delivery expected in about two weeks. 10% discount on 3 six packs or more.
Sancerre Blanc, “Les Celliers Saint-Romble” – £117
Produced from 15 hectares of 10% siliceous clay, 25% Terres blanches and 65% Caillottes. A gentle pneumatic press is used to extract the juice, followed by a long (30–60 days), temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel, before the wine is aged on its fine lees for 2 months.
Sancerre Rosé – £117
This superb rosé comes from two hectares of Pinot Noir grown on 80% siliceous clay and 20% Caillottes. The grapes undergo a short, cold maceration before being pressed, followed by temperature-controlled fermentation.
Sancerre Rouge, “Les Celliers Saint-Romble” – £117
Again 100% Pinot Noir, from 5 hectares of 25% “Terres blanches” and 75% Caillottes, beautifully sited and producing fully ripe fruit in all except the coldest of years. The grapes undergo a cold maceration for 4 days, followed by alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats, before the wine is transferred to oak barrels, where malolactic fermentation occurs. The wines are aged for 9 months in barrel – about 15% new oak only, the rest being of one to six years old.
Sancerre Rouge Cuvée Prestige – £141
From selected parcels of old-vine Pinot Noir grown on 1.5 hectares of 100% Caillottes. Cold maceration for 5 days, temperature-controlled fermentation followed by aging for 9 months in new and one-year-old barrels.
Pouilly-Fumé, Domaine Thibault – £111
The Dezat’s acquired Domaine Thibault near Tracy in Pouilly Fume several years ago. They started with 4.5 hectares but have since expanded into St. Andelain and Nozet and now have 15 ha. Wines undergo long, temperature-controlled fermentation followed by three months’ ageing on the fine lees.
Le Mixed Case – £235 including delivery within England.
3 of each of the following:-
Sancerre Blanc, “Les Celliers Saint-Romble”
Sancerre Rouge, “Les Celliers Saint-Romble”
Pouilly-Fumé, Domaine Thibault