Pierre Martin, 2018 Update

Chavignol is a village which bursts at the seams with cultish wine names. These domaines and their wines inevitably draw a crowd of imbibing admirers including, I have noticed in recent years, one or two trendy but ultimately trend-following (as opposed to trend-setting) wine scribes. The adulation heaped upon some of these domaines is of the kind usually reserved for Clos Rougeard, usually delivered by these same meticulous observers of the name on the label, and the column inches devoted to some of these wines are matched only by the prices one has to pay to buy and drink them in a trendy wine bar.

While I understand the appeal of names such as Cotat (choose which cousin you prefer as you see fit) or Vatan (choose which generation you prefer as you see fit), and I certainly acknowledge the significance of these families and their domaines within the Sancerre appellation, as a reference if nothing else, it is important if I am to write usefully not to simply chase the established elite. I also try to look out for young, up-and-coming vignerons turning out super wines from these exalted terroirs, young vignerons who do not carry the trappings of cult status, nor are they weighed down by the occasionally barmy price tags that go with it. Young guys such as Matthieu Delaporte, Pierre Morin and Claude Riffault, a selection representing not just Chavignol but also Bué and Sury-en-Vaux, have all been worthy of a profile or similar write-up in recent years.

Pierre Martin

One young vigneron I have been following for a few years now, and who certainly fits the bill, is Pierre Martin. His wines are classic for Chavignol, with cuvées both from Les Monts Damnés and Le Cul de Beaujeu (the latter thankfully now less influenced by oak than it was when I first encountered it many years ago), wines that exhibit both depth of substance and fresh vivacity. I recently met up once again with Pierre to check out his most recent and forthcoming releases.

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