For more than half a millennium the Alphonse Mellot family have been in the winemaking business and have contributed enormously to the international success of Sancerre. Since 1513, and for 18 generations, the first-born son of the family has been baptised Alphonse, but beyond this family history there are the wines, both red and white, that capture our attention. These are Sancerres that are truly incommensurate with the rest of the appellation.
The Mellot family wines are universally lauded and have been for centuries. Those who taste them marvel at their ability to trigger emotions and lift the soul. King Louis XIV even chose César Mellot to be his viticultural advisor. This is truly a domaine steeped in history and the ancient caves of this domaine, built between the 15th and 17th century, are breath-taking and worth a visit for anyone who finds themselves in Sancerre.
At the close of the 19th century, the family began to export their wine as well as distribute them all over France. Little by little the name of Domaine de La Moussière was dropped in favour of the family name.
Today, Alphonse Senior (18th generation) has handed the reins over to his son Alphonse Junior and his daughter Emmanuelle and over the last ten years the two young winemakers have brought their own style and personality to the wines. The work in the vineyard is exceptional: biodynamic viticulture, a strict no chemical input policy, manual upkeep of the vines and small yields all contribute to making this wine truly special. When asked about their work, Alphonse and Emmanuelle like to quote The Little Prince: “One only understands the things one tames”. Vintage after vintage, the family continue to discover and respect the terroir responsible for giving their wines their identity.
As well as the cuvées from the historic Domaine de La Mouissière (30 hectares), the family have the parcels Le Paradis, Le Manoir, Les Herses, Satellite and Génération XIX. This name of this last parcel is a nod the family legacy but also to the future. The domaine also has 17 supplementary hectares of vines, all cultivated to the high level one would expect from this producer. The marnes, kimmeridgian, flint, clay and limestone soils make for exciting and varied terroirs.
Since 2005, this brother and sister duo have been taking on another challenge: Domaine des Pénitents. Located 35 kilometres from Sancerre, this limestone rich and south facing vineyard is planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Vin de Pays Charitois appellation.
Here at iDealwine we appreciate wholeheartedly the fine wines of Alphonse Mellot that, vintage after vintage, are always well crafted. No doubt this domain will continue to seduce wine lovers for at least another half millennium…
The wines from Domaine Alphonse Mellot
Sancerre Les Romains comes from a plot planted in 1951 on clay soil with flint. This wine is aged on lees from 8 to 12 months. The nose has aromas of white fruits and iodised notes whilst the palate is full fresh and very mineral.
Sancerre Cuvée Edmond d’Alphonse Mellot is made from old vines which are from 40 to over 80 years old. The nose is rich, powerful, fruity and floral then honey, vanilla and brioche abound. On the palate, it is full-bodied, rich and succulent, with a long spicy and woody finish.
Sancerre Blanc La Moussière comes from the domain with the same name. The vineyard faces south, on “Saint Doulchard” marl which is almost unique in Sancerrois and which gives this wine its strong typicity. With a bouquet that is both floral and fruity, it is pure, clean, supple and lively at the same time. A very seductive wine.
The white Sancerre Génération XIX is made from La Moussière’s oldest vines, which are over eighty years in age. It displays beautiful freshness and minerality, with a distinctive floral nose featuring acacia, honeyed and menthol notes and an iodine palate, a slight bitterness and wonderful persistence.
One of the best Pinots of the Loire valley comes from Grands Champs. It can compete with the best red Burgundies. The nose offers aromas of blackberry, anemone and pepper, while we marvel at the pure fruit, silky tannins and exceptional length on the palate.
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