Philippe Auchère Sancerre - Organic
Philippe was born into a Sancerre-growing and sheep-farming family but instead chose to become a pastry chef. When he returned to the family farm in 1995, he brought environmental consciousness, a love of natural wine, and a pastry chef's attention to detail to the already impressive old vines and classic limestone-clay terroir.
Auchère represents the ultimate in farm-scale viticulture. His property, in the village of Bué (home to famous estates such as Lucien Crochet and Jean-Max Roger), doubles as a sheep farm - meaning, not all the property’s 15 acres are planted to vines.
What is planted to vines, however, is managed with rigor by Philippe and his son-in-law, Paul: this is one of the few organic domains in the region, eschewing all chemical inputs. Sheep and pigs graze in the vineyards to help manage weed growth, and Auchère uses “micro tractors” to limit soil compaction and reduce CO2 emissions.
The soils here are the pebbly limestone-clay mixture known locally as caillottes, one of three distinct soil types found in the region. Auchère’s Sauvignon Blanc is hand-harvested, of course, and in the cellar, terroir “transparency” is the name of the game: the juice is fermented on native yeasts only and is never supplemented with enzymes or other “nutrients.”
In the glass, it’s a glistening straw-gold with hints of green at the rim, bursting forth with aromas of citrus fruits, tart white peach, green mango peel, white flowers, lemon balm, oyster shells, and wet stones. It is medium-bodied and the perfect example of what wine geeks mean by the word “racy” - mouth-watering and invigorating all the way through the aromatic finish. The result is a gorgeously elegant, refined, and "pre-climate change" style Sancerre. In other words, no aggressive alcohol, no goofy tropical NZ aromas, and no uncharacteristic viscosity. Just classic, 1990's Sancerre in a style that is a perfectly balanced cross between Gerard Boulay and Crochet.
Pull the cork on this one about 15 minutes before serving and let it rip: This is an all-occasion, über-versatile white for salads, seafood, and of course the kind of goat’s milk chèvre every Sancerre producer pulls out when you visit their wineries. A true classic!
Wines are fermented in tank (with native yeast), then partially finished in large, neutral barrels.