Guide to the Loire regions

Côtes d'Auvergne

Grower Profiles



Annie Sauvat et Michel Blot
Annie Sauvats Grandmother came from Boudes. Widowed early age, she sold off most of the land, so it was left to Annie’s now retired father, Claude, to rebuild the domaine in the 1970s. She returned to Boudes in 1987, when there were still 10 hectares of cereals (which they still have) and just three hectares of vines. Her husband, Michel Blot has vines in his own right, but is also the salaried vineyard manager and winemaker for Domaine Sauvat. He hails from Brittany and was destined to be a cider maker, but since there is no dedicated course in France he left for oenology school in Macon, which is where the couple met. He appears calm, balanced and questioning, describing himself as a maker of wines, atypical of the appellation, whilst the very chatty Annie occupies herself with sales, marketing which includes blogging on the Domaine Sauvat website, for which she won the Salon des Loire Wine Blog Trophy in 2007 for best winemaker blogger.

The Sauvat vineyards are situated behind the cellar, on south facing terraces which overlook the village. The planting density is low at 4,500 vines per hectare; close to the legal minimum and a legacy of decision in the 70s to plant for the ease of mechanization over quality potential. Today, the farm close to organic, but the soils on the steep slopes cannot tilled for risk of erosion. There are a total of ten hectares now, made up of Gamay (6.5ha), Pinot Noir (2.5ha) and Chardonnay (1ha). Michel’s own 0.4ha parcel of Gamay d’Auvergne and Chardonnay is in the Coteaux de Bard on the south side of the town, with the vines planted on granite soils, instead of the clay-limestone found on the opposing slope. At harvest, the grapes are all hand picked and mostly destemmed on arrival at the cellar, although this decision is not systematic.

The modern cellar was built in three stages and has a bank of stainless steel tanks as well as a dedicated barrel room. The large, airy tasting room has walls covered with paintings by local artists. It’s often a busy place, as over half of their sales are to private clients.

Blot is not convinced about blending Gamay and Pinot, which partly explains the (over) extended range. It is remarkable that they can create so many wines from such a limited resource:

Boudes La Roseraie – unwooded Chardonnay with full malolactic fermentation.

Boudes Chardonnay Bois – barrel fermented with batonnage for 12 months. Good commercial style

Boudes Rosé Les Charmeuses de la Côte – Gamay, half saignée, half pressurage direct with a full malolactic fermentation, dry mineral, yeasty and soft.

Boudes Gamay Les Demoiselles Oubliées du Donazat – light, early drinking Gamay

Boudes La Dame de la Quaire – This cuvee of 100% Pinot Noir, will be declassified to Vin de Pays due to the change in legislation.

Boudes Gamay Bois – goes into 300 litre as soon as the fermentation is finished then aged for 12 months. Overcooked, with too much oak showing.

Boudes Prestige Mythique Élevage Bois – 2005 only release of 100% Gamay

Boudes Pinot Noir Bois – Enjoys (or endures) the same treatment as the Gamay, spending a year in oak, of which around 25% are new barrels.

Méthode Traditionelle Cuvée Saint-Loup

MICHEL BLOT

Boudes Cuvée d’Antan – undistinguished Chardonnay raised in tank, made the same was as the Sauvat example.

Boudes Cuvée d’Antan – 35 year old Gamay on soils of microgranite.

Boudes Cuvée Granit – Gamay d’Auvergne.

Vin de Table Gourmandise d’Automne – not stated, but from the 2004 vintage. A Vendange Tardive made from Gamay with around 65g/l residual and 14% alcohol. High-toned and savoury.

Vin de Table Les Raisins Confits X – Vin de Paille is from Gamay dried on a bed of straw is from the 2005 and 2006 vintages. The grapes were loft dried from mid September and pressed twice, the first time being over the New Year period and again at the end of February. Intense and highly textured.

Vin de Table Les Raisins Confits XL – from equal proportions of Chardonnay and Gamay. It’s a more extreme version of the above.

Vin de Table Les Raisins Confit XXL – is made solely from Chardonnay.  

Vin de Table Dernière Cueillette – another liquoreux wine, but not tasted.

The Sauvat wines are competent rather than exciting, with the best examples being the unoaked red wines, whilst the most interesting wines from Michel Blot are his experimental sweet wine cuvées, which whilst a novelty within the region are relatively undistinguished when compared to sweet wines made elsewhere.

Annie Sauvat et Michel Blot
Le Bourg
Boudes
T: + 33 4 73 96 41 42
F: + 33 4 73 96 58 34
sauvat@terre-net.fr
www.sauvat-vins.com/weblog

 

 

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