Florent and Clément took up Domaine Vincent Pinard a few years ago, and they now produce organic and biodynamic wines without seeking certification. Meticulous and precise work is what gets them going, as well as an artisanal spirit. Their single parcel cuvées of Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are gradually perfected year after year, and this is making the domain an unmissable one in Sancerre. Let’s head for Bué to discover a domain with several centuries of history.
Clément joined his brother in 2017 on the family property, with Florent having arrived in 2001 to take up the torch. The elder brother trained with Jean-Louis Trapet, whilst the younger split his time between Domaine Trévallon and New Zealand. In 2007, they were proud to produce their first, shared vintage together. The Pinard family have been wine makers all the way back to the time of Henri IV, if not before! Devastated by the second world war, Charles Pinard managed to carry on selling wine in Paris. At the start of the 70s, Vincent Pinard (father to Clément and Florent) took up the domain and made some great developments there. Whilst the two brothers make most of the decisions regarding the domain together, their parents are still very present with their advice and daily help, especially since wine making has long been a vocation of tradition and heritage.
The domain spans 17 hectares of vines, mainly in Bué, an area with two types of soil that are characteristic of the Sancerre appellation – the white earth (slopes of clay-chalk marl) and the pebbles (less steep areas with hard, chalk soil). They have 12 and a half hectares of Sauvignon and 4 and a half of Pinot Noir, a grape variety that also has its place in Sancerre for the making of fine wine. Each shaped by the domains in which they trained, Florent and Clément practise all the methods of organic and biodynamic growing, including the use of preparations to care for the vines, following the lunar calendar for work in the vineyards and the winery, and the use of sulphur only during bottling. But they aren’t particularly worried about certification. With no separation in their tasks, they both work on every aspect of production, taking all decisions jointly and repeating that ‘wine is made in the vineyards, not in the cellar’. Their processes are continually questioned as part of their constant quest for perfection.
‘We make artisan wines with no pretence’. Committed to letting the terroirs speak, the two brothers produce single parcel cuvées with particularly mineral profiles, wines that are balanced and deliciously pure. With the help of three employees, they work the vines largely by hand. In order to encourage small yields, they cut the vines short, as well as carrying out disbudding and green harvests. The harvests are also carried out by hand, with the grapes carefully sorted in order to select only those that make quality wines. The work in the winery involves little intervention. The wines are put in wooden vats and then 228- and 600-litre barrels.
What do the guides say
The Guide Vert from La Revue du vin de France gives this domain 2 out of 3 stars. ‘The sons of Vincent and Cosette Pinard support their parents in producing the best of the domain and of Sancerre. Already at a high standard for fifteen years, the property has accomplished some impressive progress in just five. Their white cuvées are among the best the appellation has to offer’.
Bettane + Desseauve have said this: ‘Brothers Clément and Florent Pinard have lifted their domain to the height of success. Without a business agent or representative, their collection can be found on some highly-acclaimed tables and exported around the world, with a handful of fans always keen to taste the latest cuvées. They make delicate whites and fruity reds, with some whole harvests that push the Pinot to a richness and complexity that place it among some of the best the Loire can produce. Everything leads to excellence here, with each detail reworked to move towards perfection with each vintage.’