Grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc
Localization: Menetou Salon, Loire Valley, France
Tasting Notes: This wine has a subtle, pure nose with aromas of white flowers and citrus fruits. The taste is racy and crystalline, clear with a citrus fruit taste initially followed by saline and mineral finish. Nothing overly exuberant: just clarity and precision.
Notes: Aged in a combo of 70% tank and 30% wood (foudres and used 400L barrels) and for 11 months.
The Domain: Domaine Pellé is a fourth-generation family estate run by the talented and hard-working Paul-Henry Pellé. The winery was officially started in the 1950s, though earlier generations of the Pellé family had produced wine even before then, selling barrels of wine to local Brasseries as far as Brouges in the early 20th century. Paul-Henry's grandfather, in fact, played an instrumental role in the establishment of the appellation and lobbied hard to include "Morogues" on the label, which he felt essential since it is unique in its high percentage of Kimmeridgian soils.
The majority of the estate's 40 Ha of vines are situated in and around the village of Morogues. As Paul-Henry explained, “Morogues is comprised of 90% Kimmeridgian limestone. This is why my grandfather pushed so hard to give it the status it deserved”. This limestone is the same blessed soil type that makes up great terroirs of Chablis, Chavignol, and parts of the Aube in Champagne. Whether with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir, it helps to create complex, elegant, mineral-laden wines that can age well too. The property is planted to 1/3 Pinot Noir and 2/3 Sauvignon Blanc, including 5 Ha of vines outside of Menetou, in Sancerre proper, which they purchased in the late 70s.
Paul-Henry Pellé took over for the family in 2007 and immediately converted to organic viticulture (though not officially certified yet). Prior to that, the family had taken a ‘natural¹ approach in the vineyards, working and plowing the soils and avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides. Today, there is a crew of 8 full-time vineyard workers to work the soils and apply organic preps and compost. The most important wine production-wise is the Menetou-Salon Blanc “Morogues” which is made from 7 different hillside vineyards in the village of Morogues. In addition, they make three different “single-vineyard” wines from selected, highly distinctive parcels in Morogues – Le Blanchais, Le Carroir, and Vignes de Ratier. The grapes for all of these cuvées are hand-harvested, a major rarity in this part of the wine world.
The fermentations for the Menetou Morogues occur in a majority of tanks with about 15% in wood, both foudres, and 400-liter barrels, though there is a plan to increase the percent of wood élévage moving forward. The single-vineyard wines are raised in 70% wood – also foudres and 400L – with the balance in the tank. These wines are also fermented 100% with indigenous yeasts and are raised for a minimum of 11-12 months before bottling. Like the top wines from Chavignol, these wines drink well on release, but also have the ability to age beautifully for 10-15 years, often longer in top vintages.
We understand that Sancerre is just so easy to sell. But if you like great Sancerre (which itself can be a rarity!), we invite you to discover these distinctive, mineral-laden whites and reds from this under-the-radar appellation, Menetou-Salon, and from one of its true masters, Domaine Pellé.