This month's theme is Valle de Loire Whites.
It is hosted by of Alder Yarrow of Vinography.
The round-up can be found here.
Our wine this month is: 2003 Pascal CotatLa Grande Côte Sancerre
Although our wine is from Pascal Cotat, we would just as happily have chosen a bottle from François Cotat; we bought what was in the store. François and Pascal are cousins and share the same family vineyards.
The Cotat wines are extraordinary sauvignon blancs. They are picked at least 10 days later than any others in the area and have a richness and complexity that almost all other sauvignon blanc makers can only dream of. Cotat wines age incredibly well - most can go 30 years or more. (I'm not so sure about the 2003 vintage - I'd gamble with the 2004 or 2005 instead.)
With regards to harvesting their grapes, North Berkeley Imports has this to say, "These vineyards are located on very steep slopes, requiring a hand harvest that has become a bit of a pilgrimage for Cotat devotees. The steepest plots can only be worked by sliding down with a cushion tied to your rear while you hold the bucket in front of you. The cousins invented this amusing system, and pickers come from all over Europe every year to volunteer for the harvest."
The wines are hand-pressed using a very small antique press that's more than 100 years old. "Each wine is barrel fermented in tartarate crystal-encrusted cooperage, a process almost unheard of in Sancerre." No fining or filtering, of course.
Joanne's Tasting Notes: Notes of meyer lemon zest on the nose. The center has a smooth roundness and some viscosity and finishes with slightly sweet lemon and minerals. Acids bite a bit on the finish. Very clean finish. Minerals linger on the palate.
Jack's Notes: This is a very balanced wine, especially considering in Sancerre they had a very hot Summer in 2003. I do find that this wine has less acidity compared to the other vintages I've had. To me, this vintage won't age as well, but it's very enjoyable right now. 3-5?
These wines are imported by North Berkeley Imports in Berkeley, CA. Their page on the Cotat's is here. Michael Skurnik in New York distributes these wines in the New York Metro area, and has more info here (Pascal) and here (François). Cotat wines are not hard in find in New York, Chicago and the West Coast.
The Cotat Family from 1947 to 1990 made one wine but Francis and Paul Cotat (brothers) bottled them under two different labels. The French government finally decided this wasn't okay.
François Cotat in the cellar (photo courtesy of
North Berkeley Imports)
Francis and Paul both retired, turning the vineyards over to their sons, Pascal and François. Since then, there are two different wineries (located across the street from each other) and they each make a wine from the family's three vineyards: • Les Culs de Beaujeu
• Les Monts Damnés
• La Grande Côte
(Also, a Cuvee Special was made in 2003 for La Grand Côte. There is also an excellent rosé.)