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Domaine Gérard Boulay: Bibendum Bulletin - Sancerre à Chavignol Back in Stock

Domaine Gérard Boulay: Bibendum Bulletin - Sancerre à Chavignol Back in Stock

Another great of Chavignol, the Boulay’s first record of farming grapes there date to 1380, when the Clos de Beaujeu was already recognized as a great white wine. It still is today. Wines from these Kimmeridgian-soil vineyards often have the density and earthiness of Chablis.” Rajat Parr, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste

“The Boulay style is a world away from the regular refreshing but forgettable norm... it should really be compared with a white burgundy in terms of its rewards and complexity.” Jancis Robinson MW

Vintages fly when you’re having fun. In the slipstream of his intensely mineral 2021, we have another cracking release from Gérard Boulay. It’s a wine that renders the vibrant, ripe fruit and mouth-watering juiciness of the vintage, and, as always, it’s a Sancerre that showcases the incomparable class of Chavignol’s great limestone terroirs. When such vineyards are combined with old vines, organic viticulture and inspired precise cellar work, the results are electrifying. Followers of this wine have much to look forward to.

Despite its proximity to the town of Sancerre, Chavignol has a proud—some of its neighbours might say aloof—independent identity all of its own. For centuries before the advent of the Sancerre appellation, the Boulay family and their peers had long bottled their wines under the name ‘Chavignol’. In 1956, Pierre Bréjoux—a high-ranking official at the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine—noted in his Les Vins de Loire that the name of Chavignol on the grower’s label seemed to take on greater importance than the name of Sancerre. “This is not simply the obligatory inclusion of their address on the label, but is a subtitle which takes on such dimensions as the name of Sancerre seems eclipsed…” he wrote. Half a century later, when Didier Dagueneau finally acquired a slice of Chavignol after years of waiting, he wanted to call his wine simply “Chavignol” to differentiate it from the rest of Sancerre. 

One of the reasons Chavignol commands such renown from both inside and outside the village is that the steep, rocky terroir transcends the variety grown here: the wines are more fleshy, more opulent, and less Sauvignon. In the hands of the best growers, a Chavignol is a wine with a Chablis-like texture—perhaps unsurprising as they share the same soils—and characteristics of stone fruit and ripe citrus shot through with fresh cut herbs and steely minerality. They are wines with enormous, seductive appeal, even for those not typically fans of the grape. They are Chavignol first, Sancerre second and Sauvignon a distant third.

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