Le Nozay is a small 17th-century castle located near the village of Sainte Gemme en Sancerrois to the north of Sancerre. It wasn’t until 1970 that Baron Philippe de Benoist and his wife Marie-Hélène came to settle in the Château du Nozay in this magnificent setting which later became the Domaine du Nozay. Armed with their will and their ardor to create a vineyard in Sancerre, Philippe and Marie-Hélène de Benoist planted the first hectare of Sauvignon Blanc, the king grape variety of Sancerrois, in 1971 an area which they extended over time to 15 hectares.
After their first harvest in 1974, medals and other prizes soon came to reward the work of Philippe, who joined in the vineyard and in the cellars for a few years by his son Cyril. He notably cut his teeth in Bourgogne in Cote Chalonnaise.
Convinced of the benefits of organic and biodynamic cultivation, the Domaine du Nozay has been certified since 2011 in Organic Agriculture and since 2017 in Biodynamics. In order to be part of a perspective of respect for the environment and common-sense farmers, they here lead the Domaine du Nozay to the heights of quality, and respect for the vines and soils, so that they can produce exceptional wines.
Intervening in the vineyards only to cultivate the soil, fertilize it naturally, or to treat the vines, with the help of a weather station that is used wisely. The grapes from these vines are pressed with a pneumatic press, with the advantage of not “jostling” the marc and therefore obtaining a very clean must. Vinification takes place in stainless steel barrel-shaped vats, clay amphora, which last as long as possible, with no use of yeasts or superfluous additives. Time does its work while being, despite everything, closely watched.
The Domaine du Nozay remains a family wine estate in Sancerre, isolated in a haven of peace and tranquility. The resulting wines resemble it.
Sancerre, a medieval town in Berry, perched on its rocky peak at an altitude of 312m, dominates the splendid panorama of the Loire Valley. From the Porte César esplanade, the distant peaks of the Monts du Morvan in delicate pastel tones offer themselves as a backdrop. In good weather, Sancerre offers a magnificent panorama over its vineyards and the banks of the Loire.
The creation of the Sancerre vineyard dates back to Roman times. Pliny the Elder and Lucius Columella, in the agronomy treatise De Rustica, mention the existence of Gallic vines on the banks of the Loire. In 582 Grégoire de Tours explicitly mentions the vineyard of Sancerre.
It was in the 12th century that the Sancerre vineyard experienced a real boom, thanks in particular to the efforts of the monks. Sancerre then produced a famous red wine made mainly from pinot noir, exported by the Loire.
Unfortunately, at the end of the 19th century, like many vineyards in France, the region of Sancerre was affected by phylloxera which destroyed the entire vineyard. Later, the winegrowers replanted their plots mostly with Sauvignon blanc, a grape variety well adapted to the climate and the terroir. As everywhere then, American rootstocks were used, which were more resistant to phylloxera. The quality of the Sancerre terroir and the work of its winegrowers were again recognized in the 1st AOC decree in 1936 for white Sancerre wine, made from Sauvignon blanc. In 1959, it was the turn of red and rosé wines, made from the Pinot Noir grape variety.
Nowadays, the Sancerre vineyard mainly produces white wines and extends over approximately 2750 hectares on the left bank of the Loire, east of Bourges. The appellation area extends over the 14 municipalities of Bué, Crézancy-en-Sancerre, Menetou-Râtel, Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, Montigny, Sainte-Gemme-en-Sancerrois, Sancerre, Saint-Satur, Sury- en-Vaux, Veaugues, Verdigny, Vinon and Thauvenay.
From all sides, forming a setting and maintained by the winegrowers, proud of their ancestral traditions, the vines producing the “Sancerre” seem to be taking over the city! Ariadne’s thread, leads the pedestrian visit, through the various old districts of winegrowers, and bakers… but also the buildings of the 15th century, and the many art galleries, to which is added, the magic of the monuments highlighted. Near the church, the Maison des Sancerre invites you to discover the Sancerre vineyard thanks to the scenographic space, the garden of scents, and the terrace offering a unique panorama of the vineyard. The Tower of Fiefs, the survivor of the feudal castle of the Counts of Sancerre, offers a view of the city full of charm and calm. The wines of Sancerre, and the Crottin de Chavignol,
The white wines of Sancerre are dry but generally have fairly round, fresh, and balanced palates. They can be drunk young (1 to 3 years) but some vintages have good aging potential. They come from the single Sauvignon blanc grape variety. Their color is pale green-gold. The aromas typically developed in the white wines of Sancerre range from floral notes to fruity notes such as citrus fruits (grapefruit, pomelos) to gunflint notes. These aromas are determined by the soils on which the vine grows. Limestone (or caillottes), clay-limestone (or Terres Blanches), and clay with flint are the three main types of soil found in the Sancerre appellation.
The rosé and red wines are, as in Burgundy and Alsace, made from the Pinot Noir grape variety. The rosé wine is dry and fine, quite fatty. The red wines have a beautiful cherry color with aromas of small red fruits and even flowers. These are balanced wines, with power and finesse.
The wines of Sancerre should be drunk rather cool (be careful especially not frozen because the cold kills the aromas), summer, when grilled meats or fish, is an ideal time to discover Sancerre. The characteristics of the red and white wines of the region make them the ideal wines for “sunny” meals and elegant picnics. Rosé wines also form a beautiful association with exotic cuisines thanks to their spicy notes.
And of course, don’t forget to pair the wines of Sancerre with the famous local goat’s cheese: crottin de Chavignol!
Domaine du Nozay
Domaine du Nozay
Domaine du Nozay
Domaine du Nozay
La Plante Froide