We drove from Paris for just over two hours to the beautiful town of Sancerre, looking gorgeous in the May sunshine. Our visit here was with Joseph Mellot, a relatively large producer making wine in each of the Central Loire appellations. Mellot has over 100 hectares of vines, with significant holdings in Sancerre (57 hectares) and Pouilly-Fumé, quite a bit in Quincy and Reuilly, and then little bits in the Coteaux du Giennois, Menetou-Salon and Châteaumeillant. They also buy in some grapes.
Why Mellot? Nicole’s company, Lifford, imports them into Canada. In the UK, they are represented by Hatch Mansfield.
We met with winemaker Norbert Buchonnet, who’s been here for just over a year, after moving from the south of France. He took us on a tour of some of the Sancerre vineyard holdings. This is a region where soils are taken seriously, and they have some very impressive-looking vineyards.
This family-run estate dates back more than 500 years, but the current company’s structure is based on the work of Alexandre Mellot, who took over in 1984. A firm believer in the potential of the Centre Loire vineyards, he purchased new holdings across all the appellations, built a new winery, and got serious about exporting. Since his death in 2005, his wife, Catherine Corbeau-Mellot, has been in charge.
These are solid wines that are true to their terroirs.
Joseph Mellot Reuilly Rosé Les Milets 2016 Loire, France
More clay in Reuilly and this is Pinot Gris. Bright, fresh and a bit grippy, with lovely cherry hints. Fresh and expressive with a spicy, peppery twist. V pale colour from direct pressing and no skin contact. Nice dry finish. 89/100
Joseph Mellot Reuilly Blanc Les Milets 2016 Loire, France
Very fresh with a subtle vegetative green twist as well as nicely textured fruit. Some stoniness and minerality. Quite compact with good concentration and nice density of fruit. A pretty wine. 88/100
Joseph Mellot Quincy Le Rimonet 2016 Loire, France
Very sandy soils over clay. Bright, fruity and quite delicate with some tangerine and a hint of apricot. Fruity and pretty. Finishes with some grapefruit. Lovely expressive wine. 90/100
Joseph Mellot Coteaux du Giennois La Gaupière 2015 Loire, France
Heavier soils. Nice and dense with some weight to the pear and citrus fruit. Nice weight to the fruit with textured fruit and some generosity. Lovely fruit expression. 89/100
Joseph Mellot Menetou-Salon Le Clos du Pressoir 2015 Loire, France
Distinctive herb-tinged, reductive nose with lovely spicy, mineral complexity. Grapefruit and apple notes with a tingling acidity. Such a lively, edgy wine. Some cherry notes. 90/100
Joseph Mellot Sancerre Blanc La Chatelleine 2016 Loire, France
First block we saw with silex. Very linear with lovely bright acidity. Tight, mineral and precise with pure citrus fruit. Delicate and chiselled. 91/100
Joseph Mellot Sancerre Blanc L’Original 2015 Loire, France
100% flint. Complex and intense with lovely fig and pear notes, and a saline, mineral core. Some cabbage hints and nice richness. Complex and broad but with a lively edge. 92/100
Joseph Mellot Sancerre Blanc La Grande Chatelaine 2013 Loire, France
Caillotes soil. All barrel fermented in small oak, one third new. Really seductive and broad with nuts, honey and toaste as well as lovely textured pear and citrus fruit. Some orange peel and good acidity. Very complex. 92/100
Joseph Mellot Pouilly-Fume La Grande Cuvée des Edvins 2014 Loire, France
Barrel fermented. Fresh and lively with lovely acidity to the pure citrus fruit. Has a lively spiciness and some mid-palate richness. Nice balance and intensity here with precision and purity. 93/100
Joseph Mellot Menetou Salon Rouge Le Clos du Pressoir 2015 Loire, France
Fresh and clean with a slight spicy cedary edge to the fresh red cherry fruit. Linear and delicious. Harmonious with good balance and freshness in a lighter style. 90/100
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Loire Valley Road Trip
- Beginning in London
- Preparing in Paris
- Joseph Mellot, Sancerre
- Clos de Tue Boeuf, Puzelat brothers, Cheverny
- Taille Aux Loups, Jacky Blot, Montlouis
- Vincent Carême, Vouvray
- Clau De Nell, Anjou
- Bernard Baudry, Chinon
- Mélaric, Saumur
- François Saint-Lô, Saumur
- Coulée de Serrant, Nicolas and Virginie Joly, Savennières
- Vincent Caillé, Muscadet
- The film