Domaine Francois Cotat, Les Monts Damnés, AOC/AOP Sancerre, Chavignol, Cher, France, 2010
Chavignol has the steepest limestone slopes of the Sancerre appellation. Francois Cotat wines are produced from 3ha of vines, with late picking as a rule. Consequently in some years, alcohol or residual sugar are at levels outside AOC/AOP regs, so wines are declassified to IGP. Wines are fermented in old oak, with natural yeasts, minimal intervention, without fining or filtering. (Adapted from Gauntleys).
This wine: varietal sauvignon blanc, wax capped natural cork closure, 13.5% abv Gauntleys, £33 (2016)
Consumer tasting note: a promising citrus and apple nose with an edge of toast and honey; medium-full bodied, higher alcohol a little out of place, a slight spritz, with a warmer riper palate of stone fruit tinged with pineapple skin and thin honey. A decent length. Nothing very special.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity lemon, showing tears and small bubbles.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, youthful, with aromas as they come, of lemon juice tinged with sulphur (which diminishes), lemon pith, edge of lime, dessert apple, grapefruit, very low-key toast, a sense of honey.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, medium (+) alcohol, a medium (+) body, a low-key grip and a slight spritz, medium (+) intensity, with flavours of unripe apricot and white peach, warm grapefruit, a warmer tropical dimension of pineapple skin, stewed apple, thin honey. A medium (+) length, with a clean warm ripe citrus-apple finish.
Quality: a good quality wine, alcohol a touch warming and a little out of balance with flavour intensity, the spritz (CO2 from low-key intervention serves to protect from premature oxidation) is low-key and does not detract, perhaps enhancing the intensity a little; there is a decent (better than modest) flavour concentration, with some complexity, and a little bottle age showing with an emerging honeyed note, a decent length, but nothing special overall.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now, unsuited to further ageing – there is a slight structural imbalance, and the concentration reflected in the length is just not there, though there are hints of bottle age with the honeyed dimension. Will hold for 2-3 years but not improve markedly.