2012 Domaine du Carrou Sancerre
 
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Carrou, Bue en Sancerre Of Vikings, Long Legs, and Green Harvests in Sancerre

We called him The Viking on a Harley. In the early 1980s, we spent countless evenings in Didier Dagueneau's backyard, dining on grilled lamb chops, tasting countless bottles from all over France. Dagueneau's red, barbarian beard was long and untrimmed. His shoulder-length hair was wild and ill-kept. Years before Didier would set the bar by which the world's Sauvignon Blanc is measured, Dagueneau was already vicious at the tasting table, having little patience for bottles he found uninspired.

Nowhere was the The Viking more critical than with wines from his own backyard, more often than not ripping apart the Sancerres and Pouilly Fumés of his neighbors. Few winegrowers escaped Didier's wrath, but one who did — night in and night out — was a young producer in idyllic Bué-en-Sancerre who had taken over his family's 7-hectare estate after his father's tragic and premature passing. Every time Dagueneau uncorked a bottle from Dominique Roger's Domaine du Carrou looking for flaws, Didier smelled, sipped, nodded and smiled — before pouring a second glass.

As time rolled on and the charismatic Dagueneau took the wine world by storm — traveling the globe and nailing down placements on nearly every 3-star Michelin Guide restaurant in France, New York and Tokyo — the understated Roger rarely strayed far from his vines and his village. And as Dagueneau raised prices to the sky, arguing — rightfully so — that his Silex should be priced like 1er Cru Meursault, the equally brilliant Sancerres from Domaine du Carrou remained stubbornly undervalued.

On our annual visits to Bué (we've been collecting Roger's Sancerres for almost 30 years, and many of the wines from the 1980s are just hitting full stride), we'd ask Dominique why he wasn't following in Didier's footsteps. Each time, the humble Roger would just smile, congratulating his old friend on his global success story, before adding that he far preferred climbing on his tractor to a ride on the Concorde!

In a 2012 vintage that defines the greatness of this tiny, world-class estate, many growers, concerned about top-line sales in the throes of deep recession, chose not to drop fruit. Dominique Roger took to these limestone hillsides with a vengeance. By the time he was finished with two "green" harvests, he'd left 35 percent of the potential harvest on the ground. While others brought in up to 5 tons per acre, the Domaine du Carrou would yield just 3 tons of exquisite small-berry clusters, making for this stunning new release that would have brought the Viking on the Harley to his knees.

Glistening green-gold to the edge, infused with ripe apple, pear, orchard pit, and a hint of honey — with the longest legs in Sancerre dripping from top to bottom. Rich and juicy, yet tightly wound. After two hours in oversized Riedel, this gorgeous 2012 just began to let its hair down, peeling away fine layers of apple/pear minerality, finishing with bracing acidity. Drink now-2030.



Tasting Notes

2012 Domaine du Carrou Sancerre
"The 2012 Domaine du Carrou Sancerre is as good as it gets in the Central Loire. Glistening green-gold to the edge, infused with ripe apple, pear, orchard pit, and a hint of honey — with the longest legs in Sancerre dripping from top to bottom. Rich and juicy, yet tightly wound. After two hours in oversized Riedel, this gorgeous 2012 only began to let its hair down, peeling away fine layers of apple/pear minerality, finishing with bracing acidity. Drink now-2025."
– WineAccess Travel Log

 

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