The town of Sancerre and the neighboring villages that conform the appellation are located in the geographical center of France, in the left bank of the Loire River, opposite the town of Pouilly-Sur- Loire, famous on its own right for the “fumé” wines. Sancerre has been growing grapes and making wine since Roman times, and the area was famous for the red wines made of Pinot Noir. After the devastating philoxera plague, many vineyards were re-planted and Sauvignon Blanc became the undisputed king. Sancerre got the AOC status in 1936 and almost immediately started to gain fame and popularity for the white wines. By the 1970s it was the unofficial bistro wine of Paris, by the 1990s the best bottles of the appellation were in every starred restaurant in the world and now Sancerre is a household name.
The Sancerres from Gerard Boulay are a world apart from the easy, innocuous and most of the time boring wines that this appellation produces in massive quantities.
Gerard Boulay has deep roots in the town of Chavignol; his family origins can be traced to the XIV century. Most of the 9 hectares of his domain is on Kidmeridgean clay, the white limestone that formed the cliffs of Dover and inflected the soils of Champagne and Chablis. But besides the great terroirs that he farms and the significant historical connection to the land, is the honest hand- work of the vines and the non interventionist winemaking, no inoculated yeast and minimal sulfur, what make his wines exceptional. He described his role as one of “surveillance” to make sure nothing goes wrong. In general he works by instinct, “au feeling” because he wants to “let the wine live” and tries not to interfere with the natural process. “C’est la nature qui fait le vin” (Nature makes the wine).
Boulay’s wines (plus the onesfrom a handful of other vignerons: Vatan, Mellot, Thomas –Labaille, Vacheron) are the proof that Sancerre goes beyond Sauvignon Blanc, that the appellation can produce wines of great complexity and longevity only comparable with some of the great Burgundies.
At Elis List we are proud to represent all of Boulay’s single vineyard cuveés:
2015 Sancerre Clos de Beaujeu $66 From a 0.75 hectare plot in Clos de Beaujeu. Vines average 45 years old. The Clos de Beaujeu is the most historic site in the village of Chavignol. Boulay's Clos de Beaujeu is a richer, denser step up from the Chavignol village wine.
2015 Sancerre Monts Damnes $68 Old vines located on a steep slope in the Mont Damnes vineyard that Boulay began farming in 2004. Vines average 45 years old. Fermentation takes place in barrel and the wine is aged on the lees in a combination of barrel and tank.
2015 Sancerre La Cote $73 From "La Grande Cote", one of the three famous designated Crus of Chavignol. Natural yeast fermentation in 300L used barrels. Aged on the lees in a combination of barrel and tank then bottled unfiltered.
2015 Sancerre Comtesse $82 From 50 year old vines located in the very center of the Mont Damnes. This is the most powerful and complex wine from Boulay's lineup, with an incredible intensity of fruit and a strong mineral core.