Producers, Winemakers

Producer of the Week: Alphonse Mellot

True artists with Sauvignon… [the Mellot family’s] worthy aspirations have gradually raised them to the peaks of the great Sauvignons of the world. Alphonse Mellot’s white Sancerres are amongst the most brilliant and pure illustrations of the genius of the Sauvignon grape. – The World’s Greatest Wines, Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve

Proudly standing out in a region where almost 98% of the vineyards are harvested by machine, Alphonse Mellot reaches deep into the largely untapped potential of the Loire Valley, bottling some of the finest Sauvignon Blanc in the region. The eldest son in each generation has been named Alphonse since 1513, the current team consisting of father and son, Alphonse Sr and Jr – the 19th generation!

The Mellot Family, with Alphonse Junior , Emmanuelle and Alphonse Senior from left to right.

Stay over in Sancerre at the Hotel Bristol, right in the middle of town, and in the morning you need only cross the road straight into Alphonse and Emmanuele Mellot’s office. Their 500 year heritage may create high expectations of their Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, and they do not disappoint – with their reception or their wines. The words “enjoy life” reach new heights at this domaine.

They currently look after 47 hectares of vineyard planted in limestone-rich soils. By far the most well-known and remarkable vineyard is La Moussière. This beautiful sloping, south-facing vineyard is one of the best kept vineyards in France with 8000 vines per hectare. Fully biodynamic, harvest is done completely by hand before making its way to Mellot’s modern cellar, filled with every toy a wine-maker could wish for.

After fermentation, wine spends a short time in large 600 litre casks. Alphonse controversially uses larger casks to promote oxygenation, breadth and depth. The result speaks for itself, producing one of the world’s benchmark Sauvignon Blancs.

Alphonse Junior (number 20) has also brought volume and body to their Sancerre Rouge (100% Pinot Noir), which can finally stand up to its white counterparts after many years of playing second fiddle.

If you are looking for purity, ageworthy and layered Sauvignon Blancs, you should look no further than this domaine.