Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Cote des Monts Damnes (375ML half-bottle) 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very pure, with a racy feel to the lemon pith, white peach, thyme, and gooseberry notes, backed by a brisk flinty edge on the finish. A light kiss of shortbread hangs in the background and should emerge a bit more with modest cellaring. Drink now through 2021.
This steep slope of vines dominates the village of Chavignol, home to the Bourgeois family. An aromatic wine, it is crisp, textured and full of citrus and gooseberry flavors. This beautiful wine is still young, so wait to drink until 2019.
From Kimmeridgian marl soils, the 2017 Sancerre La Côte des Monts Damnés opens with a more subtle and elegant bouquet compared to Les Baronnes. Passion fruit and black cassis flavors with some dashes of lemon juice lead to a full-bodied, intense and very elegant palate with a powerful and well-structured finish. Very long and with gooseberry flavors in the long aftertaste. This is a serious, structured and persistent Monts Damnés with an aging potential of up to 10 years.
I marked this down as a Sancerre, and it didn't let me down: the subtle lemony nose is followed by an almost-tart attack with some soapy, slightly bitter elderflower notes. It has nice crisp acidity and great persistency. A good food wine.
The Famille Bourgeois has been in love with Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc for 11th generation. The domain covers 72 hectares on the best Terroir of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé appellations. Brought to fruition by Henri Bourgeois over 50 years ago, the vineyards lie on some of the most rugged hillside terrains, offering the best exposures in the Loire Valley. From cultivating two hectares on the slopes of Chavignol, Henri took the audacious step in the 1950s of developing his vineyards in an as yet unknown area. His sons, Jean-Marie and Rémi, joined him in the 1960s and continued the adventure. They discovered new terroirs, bought land, developed partnerships with other Sancerre families, and turned themselves into the #1 ambassador of Sancerre in France, then abroad.
Today, Arnaud, Lionel, and Jean-Christophe Bourgeois are just as much the heirs of those men as the initiators of the future of the vines and wines of the house. Though the family is forever striving to perfect their craft, they remain committed to Henri’s original viticultural vision of showcasing the purity of the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes and the unique Terroirs of Sancerre.
Famille Bourgeois has received numerous accolades over the years from press and public alike for all of their wines, ranging from their delightfully fresh & food-friendly "baby Sancerre" Petit Bourgeois wines to their age-worthy, terroir-driven Sancerre & Pouilly-Fumé cuvées.
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.
Capable of a vast array of styles, Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character. Though it can vary depending on where it is grown, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. This variety is of French provenance. Somm Secret—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.