Domaine Paul Prieur et Fils

Location: Verdigny, Sancerre, Loire
Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir 
Viticulture: Biodynamic farming methods; no pesticides or herbicides
Vinification: Whites – whole clusters in a pneumatic press. Native yeast fermentation and aging in stainless steel, barrel (minimal new wood), and wooden foudres. 
Reds – partial to 100% whole-cluster, native yeast fermentation in open-top wood tanks for about a month with very few punch-downs or pump-overs.  Aged in wooden foudres and older barrels for about fifteen months. No fining or filtration.

Luc Prieur took over the family domaine from his father & uncle in 2012 – he is the eleventh generation to farm this land. He farms nineteen hectares – fourteen Sauvignon Blanc, the rest Pinot Noir. He uses biodynamic preps and cover crops and lets the vines grow in the summertime without trimming. No pesticides or herbicides are ever used. 
Luc employs eight full-time workers (an unusually high proportion given the size of the domaine) to keep up with all the hands-on work in both the vineyards and cellar. In order to use less copper and sulfur in the vineyards, he instead sprays a tea of hedge willow that he grows on the estate, which acts as a natural fungicide.
The Sancerre Blanc is sourced from 30 parcels sprinkled around the area – about 60% from Chavignol and Verdigny (very chalky limestone), 30% Thauvenay (silex soils at the southern tip of the appellation), and 10% from small holdings right around the village of Sancerre (limestone and clay). The “Pieuchaud” comes from the best vineyards on silex soils. He waited five years to bottle it on its own, wanting to fully understand what the vines were giving him. He has a little over an acre of “Monts Damnés”, the most famous vineyard in Sancerre. Here the chalky soil is so light he uses a horse to plow, in order to avoid compacting the dirt. Down the road from Monts Damnés is the jewel of the domaine, “La Pitaude”, the yields of which are dramatically reduced by fanleaf virus, but which produces grapes that are very concentrated.
The rosés and reds come from two vineyards next to the domaine. The still rosé and the rosé pétillant natural are from “Les Clous” and the Pinot Noirs are all from “Les Pichons”. The rosé is a blend of different vintages going back five years! “People drink my rosé too early, so I aged it for them!” Luc says with a laugh. The Pet Nat is bottled without sulfur, and finishes éits fermentation in the bottle. He only makes 125 cases each year. The basic Sancerre Rouge comes from the bottom of Les Pichons, and has anywhere from 20 to 50% whole cluster inclusion. It is aged half in wooden foudres and half in barrel. He makes another Pinot called “Vinification en Grappes Entières” which is 100% whole cluster and raised entirely in barrel. “Les Pichons” comes from the top of the vineyard, just across the road from Monts Damnés. It is entirely destemmed, and ages in barrel.