Tasting life in a bottle labelled as 2007 Domaine de Fouassier Sancerre Mélodie.
When my second daughter Mélodie was born in 2011, my old Sancerre vigneron friend Thibault Roger sent me over to New Zealand a bottle of this local cuvee named like my baby, from Domaine de Fouassier.
In the NZ new home of Sauvignon Blanc, receiving such a gift from the homeland of Sauv Blanc from a dear friend was something special.
The fact that my daughter’s name was on the label didn’t make it less emotional.
I’ve held on to this bottle since…
You know, like these bottles you’d like to contemplate your life long, thinking it will never be as good as all the emotions you’ve put into it.
Today, I am permanently leaving New Zealand and going back home to live in France again, so my daughters can have a family.
So I just had to open this beauty.
Not enough luggage room to carry it back home anyway! Wine’s not meant to be traveling around the globe and back again.
In a way, I felt pleased to crack it open. This bottle belongs here, in Sauvignon Blanc country, were my daughter was born.
Pulling the cork out of it became the symbol of that NZ page of my life I was about to turn.
You hold on to memories in life, and attach emotions to things like a special mug, a knife, a bottle of wine, or whatever. Like if those material things were important to your life!
But sometimes you just have to let them go, let them disappear from the physical world, and let them live in your memory alone so you can write up a new chapter.
So I did pull the cork out this bottle, expecting to find something, but not knowing what.
After six years in New Zealand, I had somehow learnt not to trust aged wines. Most people here wouldn’t touch a Sauvignon Blanc older than a year or two. So scepticism about this 2007 Sancerre was the dominating feeling.
The wine proved me wrong, entirely!!
Follow me as I explored this unique wine, looked at it, smelt it, tasted it. Let my tasting notes be your journey, like tasting this wine was a journey to me:
This is, at the date of the tasting, an 8-year-old wine which is not young for a Sauvignon Blanc.
The color beautifully reflects the wine’s age with a bright and shiny intense gold yellow color. From the aspect only, you know you’ve got something special, evolved, whether that’s a good thing or not.
What’s reassuring is that while pulling it out, the cork seemed to be of a very high quality, still with a pristine and very-dense grain.
From the second I smelt the wine, I was stroke by a laser-sharp delicious lemon smell, slightly confit, the same sort of lemon you find in a Clare Valley Riesling.
Around it are charming tropical scents of confit mango and pineapple, a touch of walnut, and some sweet spices: cinnamon and nutmeg. It actually smells like a subtle and fresh Sauternes wine. I’d actually go as far as saying it reminds me of Chateau d’Yquem with this Botrytis character perfectly balanced by vibrant citrus and tropical notes.
‘Perfect balance’ are the words that come to mind. The wine is acidic, but miles away from being aggressive. It’s got this sort of mineral acidity that seems to come directly from the terroir, from a limestone-rich soil or another great terroir.
Around this backbone of acidity are a medium body and a touch of very subtle sweetness.
This discrete sweetness is probably from the wine itself rather than sugar. Alcohol, glycerol, and other compounds bring a sweet flavor to wines without being actual sugars.
There is a smooth super-silky tannic texture too. It almost feels awkward to try and describe all of these in words and characterize each sensation, as the whole is, again, ‘perfect’.
The wine clearly tastes like it’s spent time in oak, from the tannins, but also a light bitterness on the finish, and of course the flavors.
On the palate, it’s an absolute explosion of infinite complexity of aromas and flavors.
The oaky tones are there and well represented by a decent amount of sweet vanilla, sweet spices like nutmeg, clove, and liquorice. The tropical fruits are here again, melted delicately with the lemon confit, bergamot (Cointreau-like feel), and pink grapefruit.
Layers and layers of flavour go on and on I could spend thousands of words trying to describe them.
I was expecting to be disappointed because I was expecting too much out of this wine. But this aged Sancerre lived up to all of my expectations, and much more actually.
One of these magic moments when your life comes together in a wine.
When the tasting experience reminds you of your actual life and the emotions you are going through at that very moment.
A special wine, for a special moment when wine becomes life.
When wine is a journey…
When life is a Melody.
To my dear middle daughter Mélodie, and my dear friend Thibault Roger.