Region: Sancerre, France
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc
Tasting Notes: Delicious, with citrus, chalky mineral and light floral notes. Dry finish, yet rich fruit, and a linear minerality. This is a very energetic Sancerre!
Pairing: The fruity flavors of Sancerre pair nicely with fresh goat cheeses, such as Crottin de Chavignol, oysters with lemon, arugula salad with vinaigrette dressing and sauteed pork chops, as well as shell-on prawns, seafood-based steamed and fried dim sum and smoked salmon, particularly if the smoke is delicate. Add a bit of cayenne to this Fried Pickles With Pickled Ranch Dip by Alexa Weibel recipe for a slight kick and you have an awesome snack companion to your glass of Sancerre. Cheers!
About: Stéphane Cherrier, the Sauvignon master at the helm of Domaine Paul Cherrier, is part of a new generation of young winemakers who are changing the face of Sancerre. Together with other visionary properties such as Domaine Vacheron and Domaine Claude Riffault, Stéphane spends much more time working his vineyards than his father’s generation did– all in an effort to bring balance back to an appellation whitewashed by decades of chemical products and synthetic treatments. In a sense, it’s relearning how to do things the way they were once done. We first met Stéphane after hearing his name mentioned at Domaines Vacheron and Riffault – both praised his work in the vineyard as well as in the cellar.
Domaine Paul Cherrier is located in the tiny, picturesque village of Verdigny, just northwest of the town of Sancerre. Stéphane’s hilltop parcels are planted on rocky Kimmeridgian limestone, that ancient ocean bed that underpins the Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis, the hillsides of the Pays d’Aube, and the (predominantly western) portion of Sancerre. This terroir produces wines of incredible length, purity, and minerality. The amount of clay in the soils varies by parcel and elevation, providing Stéphane with richer, fruitier Sauvignon Blanc as well as fruit that is more linear and mineral.
Stéphane currently farms 13 hectares. Ten of those are planted to Sauvignon Blanc and three are planted to Pinot Noir. For the first few years of his career, he had been selling off most of his wine to be bottled under the name of more famous winemakers. Now he is steadily growing his own label, Domaine Paul Cherrier, selecting the best tanks and vats to be bottled at the estate. There is virtually no manipulation to the wines and Stéphane strongly prefers Sauvignon that is aged in tank and large barrels over that aged in barrique. Although he is used to heavy hitting on the rugby field (one of his real passions), his wines are delicate, defined, and very precise.
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