Eric Louis is a French producer in Thauveney-en-Sancerrois in the Loire. The Louis family wine business began as early as 1860 when Pauline, Eric’s great grandmother, started making wine and selling it at markets; the company, Les Celliers de la Pauline, are named after her. However, it wasn’t under the 1970s when Sancerre wines began their ascendency that this domaine really took off, thanks to Eric’s father, Leon.
Now Eric is at the helm and winemaker at the domaine, which extends over 10 hectares on the southeast side of the Sancerre vineyard. Here the soils are two-thirds chalk and clay, which is perfectly suited to the Sauvignon Blanc grape used for making Sancerre. Yields are limited and grass grown between the vines and much emphasis is put on preserving the environment. The domaine is committed to traditional winemaking – maturing in oak barrels from the Troncais forest - while using modern equipment when necessary, such as thermo-regulated tanks.
Sancerre is a hilltop town on the left bank of the upper Loire, which gives its name to one of the Loire’s – and France’s – most renowned wines. It’s virtually synonymous with Sauvignon Blanc, so who would have guessed that until the middle of the 20th century the area produced red wines and white from the Chasselas grape? It was not until the white Sauvignon wines were introduced into Parisian bistros that Sancerre began its climb to fame. The climate here is continental but the river to the east and the forests to the west help moderate the low temperatures. Vines are cultivated in 14 communes in this appellation of varying terroirs. There are three distinct areas, however. The western vineyards are on clay and limestone soils, producing quite powerful wines; from here to the town of Sancerre is high in gravel, giving delicate wines; while close to Sancerre itself, there is flint, which makes longer-living perfumed wines. Apart from the dry white Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir is also grown, to produce light red and rosé wines. And while white Sancerre at its best is sublime, its popularity has meant that there’s also some mediocre stuff being made.
Zingy, fresh, fruity Sauvignon Blanc style wines. High on acidity, big on flavour.
Can be either full of gooseberries, green apples, grassy aromas or more subtle, tropical passion fruit flavours.
The New Zealand style tends to be more intense than the mineral, stony style you’ll find in Sancerre & Pouilly Fume – the home of the Sauvignon Blanc grape in Loire, France. Look out for Chilean Sav Blancs for good value for money.
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