Andrew Guard

2018 Sancerre 'La Grande Côte', François Cotat

This vineyard is where François has his oldest vines, these days the average age is about 40 years because he has had to replant many of the very old vines as the Sauvignon is susceptible to viruses as it ages and so past 60 years old the vine is usually close to unproductive. This vineyard produces the most flamboyant wines in this collection, there are notes of tropical fruit and a fuller texture but don't let that fool you as it is all aligned to incredible finesse, cool acidity and tactile minerality. These are very special bottles.

There are three things that define François Cotat’s wines. Firstly the superb Kimmeridgean terroir around the famed village of Chavignol and specifically it’s vertiginously steep vineyard, Les Monts Damnés.

Secondly, his vineyards are planted at a density of 8000 vines per hectare – higher than the more normal average of 6000 vines per hectare & with average yields of 45 hl/ha, far lower than Sancerre’s ‘rendement de base’ of 65 hl/ha.  

Thirdly, that he is often the last to harvest, sometimes a week later than his peers and this, combined with his meagre yields, provides sublime and incomparable quality.