Domaine Francois Crochet

Domaine

In the small commune of Bué, just outside of Sancerre, François Crochet and his wife farm 25 acres of prime vineyards that boast all three of the main Sancerre soil type: chalk, flint, and gravelly marl.

Domaine Crochet is a small, family run producer with a respect for the best of traditional methods such as hand picking and selection at harvest.

François Crochet, son of Robert and Marie-Solange took over the estate in 1988

Robert and Marie-Solange Crochet are descended from two families with long associations with Bué, a village 2 miles away from the town of Sancerre itself, with a long-standing reputation for producing some of the appellation’s best wines.

François graduated from the famous enology school in Beaune, France. After school, he cut his teeth by working at Domaine Bruno Clair. He is one of the first to pick in Sancerre so the acidity of his wines rage. Surprisingly, the wine doesn’t have the green pepper notes that one would expect from wines harvested so early. I don’t know how he does it, but the wine finds such a perfect balance of power, beauty and finesse.

PRODUCER PROFILE

Estate owner: Francois Crochet

Winemaker: Francois Crochet

Estate founded:

Region: Loire Valley

Philosophy

 

 

Much of Sancerre lies on Kimmeridgian limestone marl (or terres blanches as it is known locally), especially in the western reaches. This is the same band of chalky limestone that runs across the upper reaches of France, and it reappears at Chablis and in the southern Champagne region of the Côte des Bar.

Kimmeridgian, is made primarily of ancient tiny sea creatures as the ocean deposited all sorts of calcium rich shells from ancient sea-life. The rest of the vineyard land is a mixture of limestone marl, chalk and flint.

One can also find quite a lot of red and brown clay soils that are clearly marked with a good dose of iron. That particularity makes this area also well suited for Pinot Noir grapes and the village of Bué is reputed for the quality of its Sancerre rouge.

A victim of his own success, as a boutique producer with such a small production François can no longer keep up with demand and makes only limited, hand-crafted quantities.

Francois Sancerre cuvee “les Perrois”, his largest bottling, exults lemony citrus and mineral aromas and flavors, with great energy and drive on the palate and length on the finish.

François Crochet’s single-vineyard cru, Sancerre “Les Amoureuses” is called that because the vines grow on soils that have heavier clay content than his other parcels.

“The one in love” is a reference to the clay in the vineyard sticking to the boots.

Les Amoureuses is the most hedonistic of Francois’s wine, it has the most grit, texture and power. This is mostly attributed to the density of the clay.

François greatest wine is probably his cuvee “Le Chêne Marchand”.

The vineyard lie on a plateau made of tiny limestone pebbles that Francois picked up to show the general composition which is a perfect balance of limestone and clay.

Le Chene Marchand has it all –purity, acidity, nobility, texture and unmistakable mineral impressions.

The cuvee “Exils” is anagram for silex (flint in french) and comes from the stones that completely cover this vineyard.  The direct mineral impression of this wine easily stands apart from Francois’ range. The nose is dominated with the smell of minerals, flint and stones. There are other organic-type aromas, like high-toned citrus fruits, fresh grasses and forest floor, but this wine is dominated by its stoniness.

Francois also produces some of the most exciting Pinot noir in Sancerre, harvested at maturity, his red wine are ripe, exults red berries aromas, quite powerful for the area and best consumed with food.

One particular cuvée, Réserve de Marcigoué, comes from limestone soil and shows a structure reminiscent of Burgundies.