Domaine Pascal Jolivet is one of the most significant producers in the centre Loire, making some impressive wines from the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé appellations.
As a family, the Jolivets entered the wine business in the 1920s, working as winemakers and owning a wine merchant. In 1982, they started a distribution business, and young Pascal Jolivet, then aged 22, was responsible for selling Champagne Pommery.
In 1987 he began a negociant operation under his own name, building a winery in 1990. Pascal then began buying vineyards. First, in 1993 he acquired 6 hectares in Sancerre, and then two years later he bought 6.5 hectres in Pouilly-Fumé. Eventually, the domaine reached its current size of 95 hectares. This is enough for about 80% of Jolivet’s needs, and the rest is sourced from growers. There’s also a label called ‘Attitude’, which is taken from vineyards in Touraine.
Since 2013, winemaking has been in the hands of Valentina Buoso. Natural ferments are the norm here, and the wines are really impressive.
Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc 2017 Loire Valley, France
From 60 hectares. 12.5% alcohol. Sweetly aromatic on the nose. Passionfruit, citrus and pear notes. Quite seamless with nice concentration of fleshy fruit, a hint of green, and a lovely grainy structure. Bright grapefruit notes on the margins. Textural and expressive. 89/100
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2017 Loire, France
Textured and fresh, with a slight pithy edge to the generous, smooth pear and citrus fruit. It’s ripe, hinting at some tropical notes, but it also has good balance and poise with a fine-grained spicy undercurrent. Satisfying stuff that has a nice smooth mouthfeel. 91/100
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Clos du Roy 2017 Loire, France
There are very fine, subtle green herbal hints here: it’s beautifully focused with a stony, slightly chalky mineral streak and some grapefruit freshness. Nice texture and lovely acidity that really integrates well. A refined, expressive example of Sauvignon. 93/100
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Les Caillottes 2017 Loire, France
This has a beautiful weight in the mouth, with a lively minerality framing the sweet pear and citrus fruit. It has both bass and treble, with some mandarin orange complementing the richer pear fruit notes. Lovely tingly acidity: really delicate, and fine and expressive. 93/100\
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Le Chene Marchand 2017 Loire, France
Taut citrus fruit with a hint of green pepper. This has quite a dense mid-palate here with nice citrus density and a bit of grip. It’s smoky and mineral, too, and finishes with brisk acidity. Really nice freshness and weight to this wine which has quite a density to it. 92/100
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Sauvage 2016 Loire, France
Complex and taut with some green pepper, wax and herb complexity, as well as concentrated citrus and pear fruit. There’s a lovely complexity and intensity to this wine. It’s still quite primary and taut with good acidity. Has potential for future development. 93/100
Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé 2017 Loire, France
This delivers a lot of pleasure. It has some fresh floral, passionfruit and elderflower notes, but also some green grassy hints, and a wonderful electric core of minerality and an acidity that fills the mouth without being harsh at all. It’s a really lovely, delicate but full flavoured expression of Sauvignon that conveys the place really well. 91/100
Pascal Jolivet Indigene Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Pouilly-Fumé Loire, France
This is a focused, fresh Pouilly-Fumé with compact, linear flavours of lemons, mandarin orange and nectarine, with a lovely chalky acidity. Fresh, stony and even a bit steely, there’s nice complexity here. Pure and quite focused, with a mineral finish. 93/100
Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé Terres Blanches 2017 Loire, France
Refined and nicely weighted with crisp citrus and pear fruit, with a lovely crystalline edge. There’s a lovely palate weight here with nice texture and fine spiciness. Mineral and expressive. Beautiful balance and tension here. Very fine. 93/100
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rosé 2017 Loire, France
Pale pink in colour, this is very fine, textured and smooth, with a slight sappiness and ripe pear and red cherry fruit. It has volume in the mouth and lovely pure fruit. Very stylish and assured. 91/100
Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rouge La Bondenotte 2016 Loire, France
12.5% alcohol. Lovely floral cherry fruit nose: pure, slightly sappy and refined. The palate is supple, pure and juicy with bright red cherry fruit and hints of herbs and spice. Fresh with some savoury notes in the background. Lovely acidity here which integrates so well. A beautiful lighter expression of Pinot Noir with potential for development. 93/100
Pascal Jolivet Sauvage Pinot Noir 2012 Sancerre, Loire, France
This has incredible concentration for a Sancerre rouge, and it’s showing a bit of positive development at age 6. Smooth, mellow but quite dense, it shows sweet cherry and berry fruits with a hint of cedar oak playing a supporting role. The acid structure is interesting: it’s quite mineral, grainy and a bit chalky, with some herby warmth on the finish. A serious effort, showing depth and generosity but also focus. 93/100
Here’s a video of me tasting some of these wines: