A recent Sancerre dinner held at the Puli Hotel’s Phenix Restaurant in Shanghai, provided a fascinating insight into two of France’s greatest estates: Edmond Vatan and Francois Cotat.
Paired with a fantastic menu, the evening kicked off with a flight of 2014s: Cotat’s Monts Damnés and Anne Vatan’s Clos la Néore. Whilst they share a certain stylistic similarity, it is fascinating to see that the Vatan wines have an incredibly distinct perfume of botanicals about them (not unlike that of a G&T!). These are still incredibly young, but have such intensity and mineral punch that it is difficult to think of more vivid white wines.
A flight of 2011s, showed these citrusy, botanical aromatic signatures with even more intensity, and the beginnings of a much richer side in the wines coming to the fore. Whilst the 2014s are ultimately too young to drink now, the 2011s have started to open up quite considerable and are delicious after a couple of hours in the decanter.
A final direct comparison was made with a flight of 2007s, which were followed by the grand finale, in the form of a magnum of Culs de Beaujeu 2002. Whilst all of them drank beautifully, the 2002 stole the show, purely based on the fact that it was probably the only wine drinking at peak, and showing the richness the wines from both estates develop after at least a decade of ageing in the bottle.
Anyone who has acidic, over cropped wines in mind when thinking about Sancerre, should stick their nose in a glass of Vatan or Cotat and see for themselves. These are some of the most captivating wines made anywhere, and are still remarkably fairly priced in the larger scale of things!