Sancerre Village Profile: Bué
“The vineyard of La Poussie, perfectly maintained, is the most famous of the Sancerrois. Many visitors take the Avenue de Professor Marsais, the godfather of La Poussie, to come and admire the slopes which dominate the villages of Bué and Venoize.”
– Pierre Bréjoux, 1956
One of the leading communes of the Sancerre appellation, Bué lies west and a little to the south of the town of Sancerre, which is no more than a few minutes away by car. It is a quintessentially French wine village, the houses and cellars of its many vignerons jostling for position along the village’s main thoroughfare, in this case the Rue de l’Abbaye (which makes a change from La Grande Rue, or the Rue Saint Vincent, which are commonly encountered). These cellars, many of which open their doors directly onto the road, belong to some of the Sancerre appellation’s most familiar names, the likes of Vincent Pinard (pictured below), Jean-Max Roger, Pierre Morin and Lucien Crochet. If you have ever had the good fortune to enjoy a glass of wine from one of these domaines, you will have already realised that the village of Bué is an important corner of the Sancerre appellation.
There is yet more though. Head north along the Rue de l’Abbaye and Bué merges with the hamlet of Venoize. Those vignerons based here in Venoize are routinely considered alongside those in Bué, and rightly so; they work with the same caillottes vineyards in the commune of Bué, including its most famous vineyards which I will discuss in more detail further down the page. A slightly more sprawling settlement, with cellars positioned up and down quiet avenues and dusty cul-de-sacs, here too in Venoize we find some of the Sancerre appellation’s best-known names. The most notable is perhaps François Crochet, who catapulted his domaine to the top tier after taking over from his father, Robert. Other noteworthy names include his cousin Daniel Crochet, and Bailly Reverdy, situated almost directly next-door.
Why, you might ask, is Bué home to such a high concentration of the region’s leading vignerons? If we could travel back in time to ask Pierre Bréjoux, a high-ranking official at the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine and author of Les Vins de Loire (Parisienne d’Editions Techniques et Commerciales, 1956), he would perhaps point us in the direction of the Clos de la Poussie. Judging by his comments quoted at the top of this page, Bréjoux regarded this as the finest vineyard not only in the commune of Bué, but in the entire Sancerre appellation.
Perhaps, in the 1950s, Bréjoux may have had a case. Today, though, I would have to disagree. Just as every Burgundy village has its famous vineyards, and just as Chavignol has Les Monts Damnés and Le Cul de Beaujeu, so too Bué is blessed with its own portfolio of great vineyards. Indeed, this commune is home to some of the most striking vineyards in all Sancerre, and the Clos de la Poussie is but one of their number. In modern times, however, it is only fair to say that it is the least convincingly exploited, and other sites such has Grand Chemarin and Chêne Marchand have come to prominence. To understand why, we should begin with a look at the commune’s topography.