Guide to the Loire regions


Grower Profiles

Wenceslas Soreau

Domaine Jean-Michel Sorbe
Jean-Michel Sorbe is an ex-law student who abandoned the bar after the Paris riots of May 1968. Instead, he returned to the Berry and took control of the ailing family domaine in Preuilly and over the next 30 years established himself as one of the leading growers of the region. It was 15 years after he formally started (in 1973) that Sorbe struck up an agreement with Alexandre Mellot of the producteur-négociant firm of Joseph Mellot in Sancerre. The deal was that Sorbe would vinify grapes for the négociant in his cellar in Preuilly. At this time, Sorbe’s vineyard holdings in Reuilly were a modest 2.5 hectares, although this had more than doubled by 1999 when Mellot bought the domaine outright.

The wines continued to be produced in Sorbe’s cellar until 2002 after which Mellot consolidated the production with his interests in Quincy at the Sentier du Vin, a purpose built facility on the road between Quincy and Brinay. Sorbe himself remained on the payroll until 2006 when he retired, although he is still involved indirectly through the BerryCuriens (see separate entry), who continue to vinify their wines at the Sentier du Vin. He can often be seen fully robed at local gatherings; with his large frame and beard, he looks every bit the well-fed monk.

Today, Domaine Jean-Michel Sorbe exists solely as a brand within the Joseph Mellot portfolio and the vines extend to 13.5 hectares in total across both Reuilly and Quincy.

In Reuilly there are a total of 11 hectares, with 3.5ha planted to Sauvignon Blanc, 5.5ha of Pinot Noir and 2ha of Pinot Gris. All but one hectare are with the commune of Preuilly and are found within the lieux-dits of La Fontaine, Pointe de la Motte, La Commanderie, Les Rouesses, Les Conges and Terre de Moulin and La Justice (both for Pinot Noir). The remaining one hectare is found within Les Châtillons, within the commune of Reuilly itself. In Quincy, there are a total of 2.5 hectares planted in Les Nouzats, Les Chavroches and Clos de la Victoire (1.75ha).

There are a total of seven different releases under the Jean-Michel Sorbe label. The Reuilly Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Gris, a Reuilly Blanc and Rouge, plus an additional red and white Reuilly produced under the lieu-dit name of La Commanderie. With Quincy, there is a generic label as well as a separate bottling for Clos de la Victoire.

Tasted in June 2010, the majority of the releases were from the newly bottled 2009 vintage. The generic Reuillys are clean and modern but undistinguished. Of the two reserve bottlings, the 2008 ‘La Commanderie’ Blanc was better, although its red counterpart (from the 2007 vintage), which is a raised in wood, is too heavily marked by the oak and a little dried out. The generic Quincy 2009 was very good, as was the 2008 Clos de la Victoire, but this range looks like and tastes like the work of a négociant; too safe and pedestrian and without any real soul.

Domaine Jean-Michel Sorbe
Wenceslas Soreau
Le Buisson Long
Route de Quincy
T: + 33 2 48 51 30 17
F: + 33 2 48 51 35 47

Vignobles Joseph Mellot Père et Fils
Catherine Corbeau-Mellot
Route de Ménétréol
T: + 33 2 48 78 54 54
F: + 33 2 48 78 54 55


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