Cotat, Francois

DSC03784François Cotat

Chavignol, Sancerre

When the French talk about wine as cultural heritage, this is what they’re talking about. No, there’s no website. For that matter François Cotat doesn’t really need one. Like an old Burgundy domaine, every bottle is allocated long before harvest. François’ production is tiny, from only 3 hectares.

Other than the press, everything here is decidedly traditional. As a result, the wines in no way resemble the average commercial Sancerre. The grapes are hand-harvested, later than most, and barrel-fermented on their own yeasts in older barrels (demi-muids of 600L, 9 or 10 years old). The wines often have a round mouth-feel combined with an extraordinary minerality, and a stunning precision. Sauvignon Blanc is notoriously distinctive, yet here one tastes terroir, not the grape. Some of the wines can even have residual sugar (the Grande Côte, depending on vintage). They can age for 50 years, if not more.   read more

As for terroir, of the three typical Sancerre soil types, terres blanches, caillottes and silex, though all three are present it is the terres blanches or Kimmeridgian marls that predominate. This is the very same terroir as Chablis, recognizable for the thousands of embedded oyster fossils, the ‘comma’ oyster, ostrea virgula.

Along with his cousin Pascal, François makes the best, if least typical, wines in the appellation. In fact in certain years the wines have been denied the appellation, ostensibly because of residual sugar. Needless to say, this doesn’t affect his sales. In any case the cousins seem to feel they make Chavignol, not mere Sancerre, and they are not bothered by having to use Vin de France.

François and his cousin inherited their respective fathers’ share of the family estate. In the old days the brothers Paul (François’ dad) and Francis (Pascal’s dad) used to make the wines together in Chavignol, and then label their respective portions with their own name. Today François continues to make his wines in Chavignol, while Pascal has his own tiny winery in Sancerre.

Wines
François Cotat Sancerre Les Culs de Beaujeu
François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés
François Cotat Sancerre La Grande Côte
François Cotat Sancerre rosé
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Labels
François Cotat Sancerre Les Culs de Beaujeu
François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés
François Cotat Sancerre rosé