Domaine François Crochet, France
The son of a vigneron, François took over the estate in 1998 and together with his wife Carine works 10.5 hectares of vines, encompassing all three of the principle Sancerre terroirs. François Crochet is an innovative winemaker with experience far beyond Sancerre. Although well travelled, having spent time in New Zealand, his heart is in Bué and here he produces his own distinctive style of this classic wine. Now a victim of his own success, François cannot keep up with demand, making only limited, hand-crafted quantities. These wines are some of the most precise and refined Sancerre around; intensely flavoured with crisp, refreshing acidity and great length.
The yields are controlled by bud reduction in the spring and in some cases a later green harvest, the eventual harvest is entirely manual, and overall this is a very small, 'hands-on' operation, with François personally overseeing and also undertaking much of the work in the vineyard (no mean feat with such a parcellated domaine).
The grapes are harvested by hand, allowing them to be sorted first in the vineyard. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are table-sorted if necessary when they arrive at the winery in trailers. The grapes are transferred to the presses by means of a belt. Pressing ensures high-quality juice without damaging the grapes. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks under controlled temperatures of 14 to 18°C depending on the cuvée. The Pinot Noir grapes are brought to the winery in 40 kg crates, and are table-sorted before being destemmed. The grapes are transferred to the presses by means of a belt to avoid damaging them. Following cold maceration, fermentation takes place under controlled temperatures. The juice is run off after a few days of maceration. Gradual pressing gives off a pure press juice. The wines are then aged in barrels - 228 or 600-litre barrels - and in tanks; the proportion varies depending on the vintage and the cuvée.
- Some of the most precise and refined Sancerres you will ever get to taste if you get the chance.
- A victim of his own success, François cannot keep up with demand, making only limited, hand-crafted quantities.
- Manual harvesting.