Domaine Henry Pellé

France The Loire | www.henry-pelle.com

Menetou-Salon lies about 30 kilometres southwest of Sancerre, at the eastern end of the Loire Valley. It is a surprising fact that the wines are less well-known than those of Sancerre (the “little sister”) given that they are often equal in quality. The whites are made from Sauvignon Blanc, the reds and rosés from Pinot Noir. The very modern Henry Pellé winery is located in the picturesque village of Morogues, just east of Menetou-Salon.

The first Pellé winemakers made wine for their own consumption. A little something good to drink with Sunday lunch, something thirst-quenching to have after working in the vineyards and fields. Because the wine was good, it was often sold to friends for parties and weddings, or to local establishments in the early 20th century.

The Pellé family’s vineyards are on chalky soils derived from limestone marl and oyster shells: today, they have 20 hectares in Menetou-Salon and another four hectares at the western extreme of Sancerre. Anne Pellé has run the domain since 1995 and Julien Zernolt is the enologist. They practice organic viticulture, control yield, and use a gentle pneumatic press to release the juice. Their whites are fermented in neutral vats using native yeast and show beautiful texture from time on fine lees before bottling. Reds spend at least three months in oak. The focus has always been on a principled expression of terroir.