Vacheron's red 2017 Sancerre Belle Dame opens remarkably aromatic and ripe, with stewed or baked fruit aromas on the nose, tending toward plums rather than berries and a touch of caramel. With more aeration, the wine gets more precise, more flinty and piquant and reveals fresh cherry and potted strawberry aromas. Silky on the palate opening, this is a full-bodied, rich intense and persistent Pinot Noir with impressive concentration, freshness and finesse. What irritates me a bit: I would even accept it in a German Pinot Noir tasting not because of the oaky flavors (which I don't pick up here excessively) but due to the freshness, fruit profile and rather grippy finish. Fürst's Centgrafenberg comes to my mind, and that's meant as a compliment. Burgundy is widening its wings. Tasted in February 2021.
No small comment there! Pinot Noir is less than 20% of Sancerre’s production, and the vast majority of that stays in France. But not today! We are HUGE fans of Vacheron’s incredible and high-scoring whites, but this is just a revelation. How do they attain this ripeness, yet align it perfectly with the zesty, lingering line of acidity and freshness?! The minerality here, too, is simply astonishing. What a wine to cellar -- just terrific and a very cool find for those of you who love serious pinot!
Read up a bit on the Vacheron history in our “About” tab, but whatever you do, don’t miss this! Have a great weekend!
PAIRING IDEAS: Make a killer salad with smoked duck breast. This is pretty easily found at good markets now, and it elevates and good salad tremendously. The rich duck is SO perfect with this wine -- try it
MUSIC SUGGESTIONS: We made it to the weekend! Let's jam out to some Imagine Dragons, especially “Radioactive”, but the version with Kendrick Lamar!
About the Producer
The Vacherons are without question Sancerre's leading winemaking clan. From the family's pioneering work in identifying and exploiting the region's top terroirs to their leading position in biodynamic viticulture today, few artisans in Sancerre as exacting or as respected. Great-grandfather Maurice Vacheron tended a few vines back when Sancerre was but a stop on a village road. His son, Jean, was the first of the family to specialize in producing wine, paying particular attention to the influence of terroir on Sauvignon Blanc. Jean's sons, Denis and Jean-Louis, solidified the Vacheron name in Sancerre, showcasing the family's talent with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Today, Denis' son, Jean-Laurent, and Jean-Louis' son, Jean-Dominique, have taken the estate to a whole new level of quality, championing biodynamic viticulture and selecting singular vineyard parcels that the family has observed for generations (and planted with their own hands) to bottle as single-vineyard wines, to showcase the heights that Sancerre can reach.