Domaine Fouassier Sancerre Clos Paradis 2016
The new century started with the arrival of the tenth generation with Benoit in 2000 (Jean-Michel's son) and Paul in 2001 (Pierre' son) who brought a new way of operating and a new culture of the vineyard.
The domaine's vines are cultivated so as to develop every terroir and to highlight their qualities. It is a matter of observing and understanding of the plant, of its needs, its stress or its sturdiness to overcome. The soil enrichments are chosen according to the plot. They are 100% organic and are certified usable in biological agriculture. No chemical fertilizer is used on their property. The freerun yields are controlled by the pruning, a harsh disbudding or green harvests, if the load of grapes does not correspond to the quality targeted.
The specificity of the vineyards is such that they vinify all these plots separately since the 80's. In Sancerre, Fouassier was the pioneer of these winemaking methods. They respect the soil of each vine that endows different qualities using the same winemaking techniques. Each terroir has its own typicity, and in each wine from the same soil, you find slight differences due to the site of the vines, their exposition, their age. All the cuvees are appealing thanks to the majestic character of their subtle flavors.
Marked by its charming hilltop village in the easternmost territory of the Loire, Sancerre is famous for its racy, vivacious, citrus-dominant Sauvignon blanc. Its enormous popularity in 1970s French bistros led to its success as the go-to restaurant white around the globe in the 1980s.
While the region claims a continental climate, noted for short, hot summers and long, cold winters, variations in topography—rolling hills and steep slopes from about 600 to 1,300 feet in elevation—with great soil variations, contribute the variations in character in Sancerre Sauvignon blancs.
In the western part of the appellation, clay and limestone soils with Kimmeridgean marne, especially in Chavignol, produce powerful wines. Moving closer to the actual town of Sancerre, soils are gravel and limestone, producing especially delicate wines. Flint (silex) soils close to the village produce particularly perfumed and age-worthy wines.
About ten percent of the wines claiming the Sancerre appellation name are fresh and light red wines made from Pinot noir and to a lesser extent, rosés. While not typically exported in large amounts, they are well-made and attract a loyal French following.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California's style is fruit-driven, in either a soft and oak-aged or snappy and fresh version.
The freshness of Sauvignon blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it matches well with complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon blanc is a proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (herbaceous aromatic compounds) inherent to each member of the family.