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Domaine Alphonse Mellot: A Dozen Releases from a Sancerre “genius”

Domaine Alphonse Mellot: A Dozen Releases from a Sancerre “genius”

“… [the Mellot family’s] worthy aspirations have gradually raised them to the peaks of the great Sauvignons of the world. Alphonse Mellot's white Sancerres are amongst the most brilliant and pure illustrations of the genius of the Sauvignon grape."  Michel Bettane & Thierry Desseauve, The World's Greatest Wines

“A touch eccentric, and always boiling over with ideas, he [Alphonse Mellot] has taken the world of sauvignon blanc to new heights... [the Domaine] is an orchestra conducted by a sometime delirious genius.” Joel B. Payne, Vinous

“The name of Alphonse Mellot has long been associated with some of the very finest examples of Sancerre, in both red and white.” Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor

“[The Mellot style] is pure and precise and manages to retain mouth-watering acidity even in warm vintages like 2018, 2019 and 2020.” Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous

“Forget Sauvignon as you taste [Sancerre]; taste them, instead, as northern whites of subtle, often unemphatic scent; of nerve and sinew; and with textured subtleties (call it ‘minerality’ if you like) and vinous drive which carry and counterbalance their inner freshness.” Andrew Jefford, Decanter

To see this producer's full available range, please click here.

We’ve mentioned before that this producer’s astonishing range of single-vineyard Sancerre goes somewhat further than the domaine’s renowned terroir of La Moussière. Mellot’s sole cuvée from Chavignol—Satellite—already has a devout following in Australia. Perhaps less well-known are its wines from the silex terroirs of Les Romains, La Demoiselle and Les Herses. If we are in the mood to generalise, Mellot’s wines from these flint-rich parcels (which sit closest to the Loire River) tend towards a racier and more restrained style than its Sancerre from the terres blanches and caillottes terroirs. The quality remains equally profound. 

Alongside the new wines from Les Romains and La Demoiselle, we have shipped an aged release from Les Herses. Like his great friend, Gérard Boulay, Alphonse Mellot runs a small museum release program for restaurant clients in France—and each time we visit, Alphonse Mellot never misses the opportunity to remind us that Sancerre can age “15 years at least, and sometimes longer” when it is grown and made well. More often than not he will, with much delight, successfully underline this claim in a blind tasting at the end of the visit. This year we tasted a 2013 bursting with deep, vibrating energy that blew us away. We immediately requested a share of the spoils and offer it below. Those French somms are clearly ahead of the curve on this one.

Following the excitement generated by our last shipment of Mellot’s Sancerre rouge, we had to go back for more. This domaine is celebrated as the benchmark for Sancerre rouge in its homeland. Until phylloxera destroyed the region’s vineyards in the 1860s, Sancerre was famed for its reds, and today growers such as Mellot are pulling out all the stops to rebuild that reputation. Alphonse Mellot Jr. has long desired to make great Pinot Noir from his complex limestone soils and old massale vines, and is now delivering on that promise. His father raised the bar for Sauvignon Blanc, and now the son is doing the same for Pinot Noir—the balance, tannin refinement and Burgundian-style elegance of his wines has never been finer.

Finally, we have shipped a small parcel of Mellot’s La Moussière rosé. Fastidiously managed and cropped from one of the Loire Valley’s great terroirs, it is not the cheapest rosé out there, yet it is one of the most emphatic: expect the same kind of silky elegance and mineral accent found right across Mellot’s incredible portfolio. 

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