The Sancerre appellation is situated on porous limestone and hard flint soil near the head of the country’s longest river, the Loire. It’s right in the middle of France, really. Domaine Vacheron is just a ten minute stroll from the centre of town. This is a family winery in the truest sense – it’s also widely recognized as a pioneering, elite producer of Sancerre. The original five hectares established by Jean-Louis Vacheron in 1968 have grown to 43 hectares, and the Domaine comprises some of the finest sites in the central vineyards of the Loire Valley. Today Jean-Louis’s sons, Jean-Louis and Denis, and his grandsons run the Domaine.
Much of the Domaine is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, but there are about 12 hectares of Pinot Noir planted for the production of red Sancerre (an unusually high proportion for the appellation and a wine the domaine is particularly noted for). Keep an eye out for its release. The Domaine continues to hand-harvest their vineyards even as many Sancerrois growers have introduced mechanical harvesting. Vineyards are Certified Organic and biodynamic, and no synthetic chemicals are introduced. Traditional winemaking techniques are employed, with white wines fermented in small stainless steel tanks or old open-top wood vessels, always by native yeast. Red wines undergo malolactic fermentation in barriques.
“Jean-Dominique and Jean-Laurent Vacheron have blown, like fresh air, a breath of biodynamics across their 48 hectares of vineyard since they took over the estate from their parents. In almost the same breath, they have turned it into one of the most respected estates in the region.” – Joel B. Payne on Domaine Vacheron, vinous.com, October 2014
“Certified as a biodynamic wine producer for ten years now, Domaine Vacheron is surely one of the highlights in the Sancerrois. Lead by Jean-Dominique and his cousin Jean-Laurent, the family domaine produces a range of different single vineyard Sancerres in white, red and pink that reflects not just the rich variety of the terroirs in the region, but the concept of the cousins who seem to demonstrate that the Sancerreois is no less fascinating than the Côte d’Or. In fact, the rich and powerful whites (38 of the 50 hectares are planted with Sauvignon Blanc) belong to the best Sancerres you can find, especially when you have the patience to give the crus the time they need to develop.” – Robert Parker on Domaine Vacheron, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, October 2016