Francois Cotat - La Grande Cote Sancerre 2020
Region: Sancerre / Loire Valley
Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc
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 subtle notes of orchard fruit and more power 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.
Since 1947, the Cotat family has been producing some of the most exceptional wines that the Loire has to offer. Today, François is at the helm of this wonderfully modest, tiny domaine (just 4 hectares) inheriting his father's parcels of old vines when he and his cousin Pascal separated the family vineyard in 1990.
Their success and individuality can be attributed to François' intense passion for creating the finest wine possible and his exceptionally placed vineyards. Prudent viticulture combined with densely planted vines, ultra-low yields and relatively late harvesting produces fantastically flavoursome fruit.
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.”
In the cellar, François uses natural yeasts, no debourbage, no sulphur during fermentation (he uses sulphur at racking and bottling) and only one battonage after
the fermentation has finished. Whilst not Biodynamic, he uses organic fertilisers and racks according to the phases of the moon. His incredible wines develop with age and, in the best vintages, can be cellared for more than 30 years.