Alphonse Mellot, 2012 Update

I don’t spend anywhere near enough time talking or writing about (or drinking!) the wines of Sancerre, and so I’m delighted today to be able to provide this update on one of the appellation’s leading domaines, Alphonse Mellot. Committed Sancerre acolytes will already be very familiar with the domaine (or at least they should be!), nevertheless I will provide a brief one-paragraph recap before I move onto to look at the wines tasted here. For more detail, see my full Alphonse Mellot profile.

Alphonse Mellot

The Mellot family – every generation has an Alphonse, by the way – can be traced back for many centuries. It is, however, only the most recent incumbents, Alphonse Senior (the 18th generation to be named Alphonse) and Alphonse Junior (the 19th, obviously), who are entirely responsible for the high quality of wines produced. Only a few decades ago the family business was one that focused on négoce wines, but Alphonse Mellot Senior began the process of quality improvement when he switched his attention from the négoce side of the business to the family’s own vines. His son has continued this good work, pushing the quality higher with a number of limited production cuvées. His own father describes him as a “magician” in the cellars, and having been amazed by the quality of some of the wines I have encountered on previous tastings – especially the reds – I would not argue with this assertion. The domaine is quietly biodynamic, restricts yields from its vines some of which will soon be celebrating their 100th birthday, applies oak judiciously (with the Sauvignon Blancs, at least) and bottles a range of wines that reflect terroir and which, in the case of some, require a few years in the cellar before really showing their stuff.

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