The Boulay family have nine hectares in the famed Sancerre village of Chavignol, and can trace their history as grape growers in the village back to 1380.
The vineyards are planted in Kimmeridgian-centric soils, including the famed “crus” of Monts Damnés, La Grande Côte, and Clos de Beaujeu. The youngest Sauvignon Blanc vines at the domaine were planted by Gerard Boulay in 1972, and the average vine age is approximately 45 years old. Organic farming has been practiced since 1990, and everything is harvested and sorted by hand.
No yeast is added, and little to no SO2 during vinification. Boulay describes his role as one of “surveillance” to make sure nothing goes wrong. “C’est la nature qui fait le vin” – That is, Nature makes the wine.
Sancerre Chavignol is a blend of young vine parcels on the kimmeridgian slopes in the village of Chavignol.
Overall, Gerard Boulay’s “terre blanche” vineyards produce some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Boulay is certainly among the top examples of the appellation, including Boulay’s neighbors (Cotat Bros., Vatan). These are gorgeous, highly complex wines that are a clear step above “regular” Sancerre, and can age easily for 10-20 years or more.