Pierre Chainier Couronne et Lions Sancerre Red 2010
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
For Pierre, the Loire was a case of love at first sight, with its vineyards and fresh, fruity wines: so easy to drink either young or venerably old: like the 1893 Vouvrays, still in perfect condition today. Today, the Maison Pierre Chainier is still a family business, based in Amboise, a royal town built on the banks of the River Loire. They are a family of wine merchants, specializing in Touraine wines. With average production of approximately 6 millions bottles (500,000 cases).
His wife Anne Chainier looks after the estates, the Chateau de Pocé and the Chateau de la Roche, in which she also raises thoroughbred French saddle horses, including Gloria de la Roche, a winner of major international competitions. Their eldest son Francois is the managing director of the company. He also owns the prestigious Clos de Nouys and Clos du Gaimont vineyards in Vouvray. Their two other sons, Louis and Philippe, are in charge of exports, particularly to the United States and Canada. Pierre hopes that in the future, they will take over from their mother in the running of the Touraine estates.
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.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.