A painstaking, labour of love cuvee that entails the Pinard's removing each grape from the stem by hand so that just the tiny stalk remains, a herculean effort born out of a desire to see just how far they can push the Pinot Noir quality envelope. And the answer is, pretty far. It is a level of meticulous dedication you seldom see heaped on Pinot from Burgundy, let alone the Loire. Stunningly fragrant and haunting red fruit notes, perfumed and intense with a core of Sancerre minerality. A very serious cuvee from two brothers who really do have their fingers on the pulse.
Vincent and Cosette Pinard’s 15 hectare Domaine extends over steep limestone slopes around Bué. The excessively low yields, hand harvesting and modern winery, complete with temperature controlled vats, result in enticing, aromatic and intense wines. The new oak barrels are reserved for the Nuance, and Harmonie cuvées, together with the delicious Charlouise red. The former is from a vineyard called Le Château and is fermented and aged in one- to two-year-old wood, the latter is a supremely balanced and fine Vieilles Vignes blend fermented in new oak. Vincent’s impressive portfolio is not confined to Sauvignon Blanc either – he owns 3.5 hectares of Pinot Noir which he matures in barrel for a year before bottling and labelling it Charlouise.
On the opposite banks of the Loire from Pouilly sits Sancerre. Whilst much of what is grown in Sancerre can be of variable quality, there are enough good growers to ensure it is also home to some of the greatest of France's Sauvignon Blancs. Cotat, Crochet, Pinard all domonstrate this, with the last two also producing some particularly fine and haunting red sancerre from Pinot Noir.