The 47 ha family estate is surely one of the finest Sancerre producers.
– The Wine Advocate
Domaine Vacheron is one of Sancerre’s elite properties, producing both white and red Sancerre wines of amazing purity and definition. The domaine has been completely transformed over to biodynamic farming with two young cousins, Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron, at the helm.
Domaine Vacheron is one of Sancerre’s elite properties, producing both white and red Sancerre wines of amazing purity and definition. The domaine has been completely transformed over to biodynamic farming with two young cousins, Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron, at the helm. No synthetic material is used in the vineyard, harvests are carried out exclusively by hand, and the only fertilizer used is produced from the compost pile. Yields are kept extremely low. Having inherited some of the most coveted parcels in the appellation, the cousins are trying a Burgundian approach to Sancerre winemaking, with parcels being vinified
separately and blends varying from year to year. At the domaine, Pinot Noir is not an afterthought, but a focus, and on soils just a couple of hours west of Burgundy, they are making grand, expressive bottlings from the varietal.
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The Vacheron family have had a presence in Sancerre for generations, and in recent years it has been brothers Denis and Jean-Louis Vacheron who have been in charge, but they have now handed the reins to the next generation, cousins Jean-Dominique and Jean-Laurent Vacheron. As with most up-and-coming vignerons at family-run Domaines, the two have travelled to gain experience elsewhere, Jean-Dominique in Châteauneuf du Pape, and Jean-Laurent in Burgundy with Aubert de Villaine. It is the two cousins who have been the driving force behind converting the estate to biodynamics.
Today the vineyard covers just over 46 hectares of the Sancerre appellation, of which 43 hectares are managed biodynamically, having been fully certified by BIODYVIN in 2005. The 2008 certification shows that the remaining vineyards, about 3.3 hectares, are in the process of conversion to biodynamics. Of the 14 communes entitled to the Sancerre appellation, the Vacherons are naturally, considering their location, almost exclusively confined to the vineyards of Sancerre itself, where 42 hectares of their vineyards can be found. Most of these are committed to Sauvignon Blanc for their white Sancerre, with 32 hectares utilised for the cuvée domaine, and just 2 hectares in the lieu-dit Les Romains. There are 10.5 hectares of Pinot Noir, of which 1.5 hectares are in Les Romains, and this is the source of fruit for the Belle Dame cuvée, the remainder is intended for the cuvée domaine. There is a mix of the typical Sancerre terroirs, with 45% of the vines planted on flinty soils, 45% on limestone soils, and the remaining 10% on clay. Vineyard practices are as you would expect for a biodynamically run estate, with traditional hoeing of the soils, plant teas based on nettles, horsetails and ferns for treating vine maladies, interplanting with grass between the rows of vines, weeding by hand, and likewise a manual harvest.