François Crochet

In Sancerre, three villages have come to be associated with wines of distinction: Chavignol, Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, and Bué. François Crochet lives in Bué and farms around eleven hectares, with vines predominantly around this home village (including around 3.5ha of Pinot Noir!). Some of these 30 parcels Crochet works are in several renowned single-vineyards in Bué, including lieux-dits Petit Chemarin, Grand Chemarin and Le Chêne Marchand. These vineyards are limestone-based, rendering a distinctive mineral quality to Crochet’s wines that isn’t always found in the more industrially-produced wines of the region. Of course, each parcellaire wine has its own personality, but the single-vineyard wines are aged on fine lees in large foudre for 18 months, adding openness and elegance—a style long abandoned by most producers in the appellation.

 

Crochet’s methods are gentle: fruit is hand-harvested and whole-cluster pressed, making for pure, delicate expression—less ripeness and dullness, less of that “Sancerre-y” character of which one might complain, which has its origin in rough handling of fruit, poor farming, and over-cropped yields. Since 2019, only wild yeasts have been used in the winery, deepening the wines’ profiles; since 2017, the vineyards are worked both organically (certified) and biodynamically (practicing since 2018 and conversion completed in 2020).

 

François Crochet’s wines are some to watch: since there’s never enough Vatan, Cotat, and Boulay to go around, it’s exciting to see a producer come back to his family domaine, improve farming and vinification, and start to deliver some soft-but-structured, aromatically compelling Sancerres from an appellation where quality can be hard to come by.

One of the most talented vignerons of the Sancerre region. — Revue du Vin de France

Wines

Sancerre ‘Le Petit Chemarin’ 2019

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Color: White

Farming Practice: Certified organic, with biodynamic principles.

‘Le Petit Chemarin’ is the name of a south/southeast-facing vineyard with highly chalky soils, regarded as one of the best vineyards in the village of Bué. 45 year-old vines. Hand-harvested, then pressed and fermented with native yeasts. Aged on fine lees in large foudre for 18 months.

Sancerre 2020

Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc

Color: White

Farming Practice: Certified organic, with biodynamic principles.

This entry-level cuvée is drawn from parcels planted on all three types of soil extant in the appellation: 80% chalky soil (‘caillotes’), 10% clay-chalk mix, and 10% flint. Vine age is 25 years, on average. Hand-harvested, then pressed and fermented with native yeasts. Aged on fine lees for nine months in stainless steel.

Press