Hallowed 70-Year-Old Vines in Chavignol
Napa Valley has To Kalon. Champagne has Clos de Mesnil. Burgundy has Montrachet. And Sancerre has Les Monts Damnés. This hallowed vineyard is the source of Domaine Anthony & David Girard’s exceedingly rich and fantastically pure Sauvignon Blanc. In one of Sancerre’s finest vintages in years, 70-year-old vines planted in Kimmeridgian limestone — the same composition as Grand Cru soils in Chablis — yielded striking minerality and stoney austerity to complement ripe, fleshy, orchard fruit. Compared to Cotat and Dagueneau bottlings from Les Monts Damnés (up to $150), today’s price is a drop in the bucket. At $25.99 we don’t expect our 300 bottles to last long — not after last year, when our allocation sold out in mere hours.
The Girard family has grown Sauvignon Blanc on the steep hillsides of Les Monts Damnés for four generations. Since 2007, Anthony Girard has been at the head of his family’s business. Anthony’s great-grandfather, Serge Renard, planted his parcel of Les Monts Damnés by hand following World War II. His legacy, which Anthony carries determinedly forward today, included a meticulous approach to tending the vineyard and a hands-off approach in the cellar. Suffice it to say, the late Renard well understood the greatness his vines were capable of, if left to speak for themselves. Here’s why.
The steep, vertigo-inducing hillside, Les Monts Damnés, which literally translates to “the cursed mountains,” was named for the tough task it handed winegrowers like Serge Renard, who sought to capture its heroics in bottle. The small, 7-acre site is comprised of the fossil-rich Kimmeridgian limestone that dates back 200 million years to the Jurassic period. Grapes grown on the soil have a distinct smoky and flinty character and give the wines a true thumbprint of the soil.
In 2016, Anthony Girard made a wine worthy of his grandfather’s admiration, stamped with the unmistakable signature of this exquisite terroir.