January 14, 2011 Domaine Vincent Gaudry
Domaine Vincent Gaudry Sancerre Le Tournebride
The thoughts of a wine drinker with a fondness for French wine (moi) eventually turn to Paris. To the wine shops of Paris — those intimate, atmospheric, captivating shops run by passionate individuals soaked in knowledge of terroir. Alas, I’ve yet to experience one directly (mais, bientôt, peut-être!). For now, I can only read the Little Bookroom book (pictured below) in anticipation.
However, my wine-enamoured younger son did voyage to Paris few months ago and this is the bottle he brought back to me, from a wineshop in the 3rd arrondissement I do believe.
Domaine Vincent Gaudry is but 8 hectares (7 sauvignon blanc, 1 pinot noir) near the hamlet of Le Petit Chambre, within the eastern Loire Valley appellation of Sancerre. And what a delightful sauvignon blanc emerges from those few hectares. Vincent Gaudry is on the radar of a relatively few wine drinkers, but is one of those small, reasonably-priced producers who are such a treat to discover.
The soils here are composed of limestone and marl; the climate is continental, with short hot summers and cold (relatively, by my standards) winters. The white wines of Sancerre and the appellation across the river, Pouilly-Fumé, are generally considered the world’s best expression of sauvignon blanc. (Other places, such as New Zealand, might beg to differ.) To judge by this wine alone, Sancerre can offer far more complexity and overall charm that is normally associated with this varietal.
On average the vines are 35 years old. Meticulous care, entirely manual harvest. The vigneron is there every step of the way, including the several months the wines are aged on the lees before bottling.
Organic for more than fifteen years, the domaine was recently certified biodynamic. ‘Trust in nature’ is Gaudry’s guiding principle. He recommends approaching wine ‘as humbly as possible.’ When asked by the interviewer to share more of his thoughts, he added simply, ‘Wine is happiness, a moment of pleasure, of sharing, of conviviality, and of coming-together…’ Obviously he wants his wine to speak for itself!
Vincent Gaudry Sancerre Le Tournebride 2008
It has much to say.
Its colour — a soft straw, green-tinged yellow — is its most reticent feature. Bright, fresh, cheerfully intense nose. Part floral, part fruit — lychee, pineapple, lime on its high notes. Wonderfully expressive. In the mouth, it sings subtly of citrus, crisp and dry, and with a bare hint of sweetness. Complex and balanced. A very pleasing mineral stroke.
Pair it with goat cheese, Gaudry suggests. To which I would add it goes very nicely with small chunks of salmon left to lie for several hours in a lime-vodka-cilantro-ginger-red chilli marinade.
Enough said. $