The Domaine Girard is run by Fernand and Monique Girard and their son, Alain. They come from several generations of winemakers in the tiny village of Chaudoux, located a few miles northwest of the town of Sancerre and directly north of the famous hamlet of Chavignol.
The Girards tend 12 hectares of vines in total, sell some cuvées to négociants and bottle only a portion of their production under their own name. Their La Garenne cuvée comes from a 2.5 ha vineyard of that name, a plot on a steep east-facing slope with a very rocky limestone soil. The chalky soil brings out the characteristic flinty, mineral and green notes of Sauvignon Blanc. On La Garenne's well-drained, warm slopes the grapes achieve exceptional ripeness and fruit.
The Girards have an impeccable cuverie and vinify with modern technology: a pneumatic press, stainless steel vats, a temperature control system during fermentation, and air-conditioned space for aging in vats and stocking bottles. They counterbalance technology by practicing old-fashioned vineyard work, where herbicides and treatments are used sparingly, and by never adding commercial yeasts to induce fermentation or add flavors.
Their Sancerre is everything one hopes for: it is bright, lively, pleasantly aromatic, has zippy acidity but low astringency.