For more than half a millennium the Alphonse Mellot family have been in the winemaking business and have contributed enormously to the international success of Sancerre. Since 1513, and for 18 generations, the first-born son of the family has been baptised Alphonse, but beyond this family history there are the wines, both red and white, that capture our attention. These are Sancerres that are truly incommensurate with the rest of the appellation.
The Mellot family wines are universally lauded and have been for centuries. Those who taste them marvel at their ability to trigger emotions and lift the soul. King Louis XIV even chose César Mellot to be his viticultural advisor. This is truly a domaine steeped in history and the ancient caves of this domaine, built between the 15th and 17th century, are breath-taking and worth a visit for anyone who finds themselves in Sancerre.
At the close of the 19th century, the family began to export their wine as well as distribute them all over France. Little by little the name of Domaine de La Moussière was dropped in favour of the family name.
Today, Alphonse Senior (18th generation) has handed the reins over to his son Alphonse Junior and his daughter Emmanuelle and over the last ten years the two young winemakers have brought their own style and personality to the wines. The work in the vineyard is exceptional: biodynamic viticulture, a strict no chemical input policy, manual upkeep of the vines and small yields all contribute to making this wine truly special. When asked about their work, Alphonse and Emmanuelle like to quote The Little Prince: “One only understands the things one tames”. Vintage after vintage, the family continue to discover and respect the terroir responsible for giving their wines their identity.
As well as the cuvées from the historic Domaine de La Mouissière (30 hectares), the family have the parcels Le Paradis, Le Manoir, Les Herses, Satellite and Génération XIX. This name of this last parcel is a nod the family legacy but also to the future. The domaine also has 17 supplementary hectares of vines, all cultivated to the high level one would expect from this producer. The marnes, kimmeridgian, flint, clay and limestone soils make for exciting and varied terroirs.
Since 2005, this brother and sister duo have been taking on another challenge: Domaine des Pénitents. Located 35 kilometres from Sancerre, this limestone rich and south facing vineyard is planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Vin de Pays Charitois appellation.