Exploring the Centre Loire (3) Domaine Daniel Chotard, Sancerre

Website: https://www.chotard-sancerre.fr/en/

Chotard is in the small village of Reigny, and it was a beautiful October afternoon when we visited, with unseasonally high temperatures and blue skies. We visited with Juliette Chotard, after meeting briefly with Simon Chotard who now runs things.

So after a quick visit to the winery, which is spacious and modern with a mix of stainless steel, large oak and terracotta, it was off to the vineyards to taste the wines in situ. But not before we’d tried a couple of samples of the new (2023) vintage, which has just finished fermenting. Both whites and reds look good this year, which was not a completely easy one in the vines, but which came good towards the end.  Even a month or so after picking, the canopies are still mostly green and healthy, which is a good sign. 2023 was fairly cold in the middle of summer, but then was quite hot towards the end of the growing season.

The domaine is of a good size for the region: there are 17.5 hectares with 4 of these Pinot Noir, and they are trying to expand this gently. They are getting back another hectare of Sauvignon but want to graft it over to Pinot Noir. ‘We love Pinot Noir,’ says Juliette, who showed us around the vineyards. ‘We don’t have enough.’

They had been working towards organics for 10 years before they certified in 2019. They wanted to keep some options open for difficult years. ‘In the end we found we didn’t need the safety net,’ she says.

The vineyard determines what happens in the winery, and they like to vinify plots separately, determing elevage according to terroir. So for caillottes they use steel, and for griottes they use acacia, for example. [Griottes are small kimmeridgian limestone pebbles in clay.]


Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Tradition 2022 France
Lovely freshness here: rounded and quite pure with nice citrus and pear fruit backed up by stony, mineral hints. Ripe fruit and harmony. 92/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Marcel Henri 2021 France
Old vines on griotte soils, with a deep clay subsoil topped by limestone. 18 months in acacia tanks. Textured, fine and mineral with some lime and grapefruit. Good balance with nice acidity: this is fine-grained and energetic. 94/100


Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Champs des Cris 2021 France
Small pebbles over deep clay souls. Very fine and delicate. Generous pear and citrus nose with some chalky freshness. The palate is fine and expressive with nice mineral hints and good acidity. Pure and expressive. 93/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Rosé Tradition Sancerre 2022 France
Very palate pink, showing strawberries and cream with some ripe pear notes, finising with some brightness. Very smooth and fine grained: an attractive fruit-forward style. 89/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Les Coutones Monopole 2019 France
Just from older vines on marl soils, aged in oak. Nutty, mineral edge to the nose. Textured, weighty palate with nice texture, showing pear and aniseed notes, with fine-grained structure. 93/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Racines Lieu Dit Grands Roulottes 2019 France
This is from Kimmeridgian marls with lots of iron, matured in oak. Textured with fresh mineral notes and mandarin, spice and grapefruit. There some lively lemony character and a chalky minerality, too. 94/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rouge Traditon 2022 France
Malolactic happened at the same time as alcoholic fermentation this year. Fine, fruity and quite elegant with lovely plush textured raspberry and cherry fruit, and nice finesse. Supple and fine with a bit of grainy structure. 93/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rouge Le Chant de L’Archer 2018 France
We tasted this in the plot, and it has marl soils. Lovely elegance: chalky and fine grained, with some stony detail and nice mineral notes, showing some sour cherry, raspberry and a bit of aniseed. Grainy with lovely supple structure: ripe but balanced. 93/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rouge Champs d’Aligny 2018 France
This comes from griottes, and there is a lot of whole bunch here. Floral, fresh and aromatic with sweet cherry and raspberry fruit. The palate is fresh and floral, showing elegance. It is generous and textured with nice weight. Chalky, grainy and fine, with a nice mouthfeel. 94/100

Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rouge Les Grandes Roulottes 2020 France
This is an infusion style Pinot made with lower yields, from grapes grown on Kimmeridgean marl. Structured, fine and fresh. Mineral with lovely raspberries and cherries. Very fine with nice texture and depth, showing real precision here, with chalky minerality. Lovely depth to the fruit but also the focus. 95/100

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