Domaine Hubert Brochard Sancerre Côte Des Monts Damnés
From a vineyard swarming with poisonous snakes, on a slope so steep it can only be worked by hand - wines such as this Sancerre more than justify the risk.
The vineyard of Cotes des Monts Damnes lies behind the Brochard winery in the small hamlet of Chavignol, on a perilous hillside first planted during the 10th century by Benedictine Monks.
Aside from the gradient, local vipers are a risk to be aware of on the estate - in fact, Daniel Brochard’s tasting room features several snakes preserved in alcohol, although thankfully not in Sancerre.
Daniel and his daughter Caroline craft excellent wines from the fantastic fruit that grows on this special terroir - 40-year-old vines in white clay soil with fossil shells embedded.
When we visited, we tasted eight vintages and enjoyed a delicious dinner with the Brochards - winemaker Caroline, Daniel and his brother Benoit, who looks after the vineyards.
One of the stars was this 2014 Sancerre Côtes des Monts Damnés, vinified and aged very well - not in wood as you might expect - but in 20 hectolitre tanks.
Region: Loire Valley
Grape Variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Bottle Size: 75cl
Closure: Natural cork
Style: Rich and ripe
Drink With: Pork in a creamy mustard sauce
The 2014 is perfect for current drinking but don’t expect fresh mown grass, gooseberry and nettles from this one - it’s far more complex and exotic.
An open and richly aromatic bouquet leads to a creamy palate, with plenty of ripe, tropical fruit flavours, which then give way to a long, fine finish.
We tasted this wonderful glass of wine with some clients six months ago and they all agreed it was the best Sauvignon Blanc they had ever tasted.
It’s an ideal companion to the region’s other famous speciality, the wonderfully tangy Crottin de Chavignol, a goat’s cheese enjoyed well aged, slightly aged or fresh and creamy.
Roger Barlow, Jan 2017.
"Honeyed and steely and a little bit funky. Smooth and sweet attack, weighty from creamy lees, this is rich, fat, plush and delicious. It moves away from 'classic' Sauvignon Blanc into an entirely hedonistic place. Very long finish. This plot has a southerly exposition, and is apparently always very rich."
Sally Easton MW