Thierry Merlin made his first wine in 1982 (superb in 2000!). He is the fourth-generation Merlin to farm vines and his 32 acres are divided between 28 planted to Sauvignon and 5 planted to Pinot Noir. This acreage is fragmented into nearly 30 parcels, all of which are in Bué except for three parcels in the commune of Sancerre and one parcel to the south in the commune of Veaugues. He works these vineyards side by side with two employees very closely—plowing and hoeing are standard here, as is careful pruning to create optimal spacing between vines and shoots to alleviate mildew pressure.
Bué occupies a small pocket canyon behind Sancerre, and the hills rising above this village on three sides are covered in vines. Bué’s soils are composed of Sancerre’s two main types: caillottes and terres blanches (the third important type is silex, or flint, and is restricted to a north-south fault line that runs right through the town of Sancerre). Caillottes, referring to stones, is a very stony, compact chalk without a lot of clay and marl. Geologically, caillottes is Oxfordian Limestone. It’s generally found on the lower hills and in the middle north-south zone of the appellation, and it predominates in Bué. The chalky soils makes for perfumed, broadly floral aromas, with finesse and precision, but concentrated elegance.