Vincent Gaudry

Vincent Gaudry

VigneronVincent Gaudry
LocationSury-en-Vaux (Cher)
Size of Domaine11 ha
TerroirContinental climate. Terres blanches (Kimmeridgian clay-limestone soils), argile à silex (clay with a lot flint), caillottes (draining and shallow weathered limestone soil, often Portlandian, with lot of stones on the surface). West facing hillside, windy plateau. 320m altitude.
ViticultureCertified biodynamic (Demeter)
View Vincent Gaudry wines ↓

Vincent Gaudry is an unusual vigneron, tall, lean, with an amazingly expressive face, and completely individual in all that he does. When you visit he bounds around his cellar and vineyards with abundant energy and enthusiasm, so obviously in love with his work.

Vincent left school at 16 because studies weren’t his forte, he wanted to work outside and use his hands so he began work at his father's domaine George Gaudry. By the time Vincent joined him in 1991 the estate had recently grown to 9.5ha, his father had always ploughed the vineyards but when Vincent took over at the age of 18, he fell so violently ill following the spraying of a chemical treatment that he began to worry about their effects on the soil, his vines, fellow workers, his health, and decided to cease all chemical sprays – becoming one of the first to do so in Sancerre.

He took on a full-time employee to help work the expanded area (he now has 9ha of white and 2ha of red), his wife deals with all the admin work and half of the domaine's vines are looked after by a long-term vineyard contractor who's been working with Vincent since the late 90s. He initially converted to organic viticulture in 1995 and then progressed to biodynamics by 2002.

A quick learner when it comes to all vinous matters, he constantly references tapping into the wisdom of older retired vignerons, who used to make wines before the chemical onslaught of the 1970s and thus have a completely different perspective to vignerons today. Listening to his elders has helped Vincent devise his range of wines.

His vineyards take in all three distinctive Sancerre terroirs: ‘caillottes' for nose and perfume; ‘terres blanches' for structure and mouth-feel; and ‘silex' for the wine's length and ageing potential. The traditional, old Sancerre winemakers always ensured that their vineyards were split over these three terroirs as this always lent more complexity to a wine.

Vincent's entry-level wine Tournebride is a blend of all three soil types, and he also makes two exceptional cuvées from specific terroirs – Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes from 50-90yo vines that are horse ploughed (like all his old vineyards) on the Kimmeridgian limestone-clay slopes (terres blanches) of Sury-en-Vaux, and Constellation du Scorpion (designated only by the astrological symbol) from 30yo vines at the top of a hillside just north of Sancerre where the soil is clay-flint rich in iron oxide (with such a high proportion of flint that sparks fly everywhere when Vincent works the soil!) giving a wine that needs two to three year per the old boys. He produces two cuvées of brilliant reds both made from whole bunches: Vincengétorix and the old vine ‘pinot fin' Les Garennes. And finally two limited editions, exceptionally good (and seriously expensive) bottlings that take Sancerre to another level, with individual handwritten labels from Vincent: Pour Vous and A Mi-Chemin.

Vines are hand-harvested and aged in a mix of stainless steel, 6000ltr tronconique wooden cuves and older barrels. Natural yeasts are used for the fermentations, malos are not blocked and he carries out long ageing on fine lees before bottling with no fining, no filtration and sulphur levels averaging around 50-60mg/l total, half the average in the appellation.

There's a thrilling energy, zest and complexity to Vincent's wines, all of them showing exceptional textures and purity which should come as no surprise given that they were recommended to us by none other than Richard Leroy.

01_Vine_Trail_Vincent_Gaudry_16_9 The Kimmeridgian limestone-clay slopes (terres blanches) of Sury-en-Vaux

Vincent Gaudry Wines

100% Sauvignon
100% Sauvignon (13.5% alc.)
(13.5% alc.)

Vincent explained that when wine was still sold by the barrel, the négociants of Paris used to blend the three different terroirs of Sancerre in equal parts to make a wine that was complete. A nod to this old tradition, Tournebride is a blend of 'caillotes' from Verdigny, 'terres blanches' from Sury-en-Vaux and 'silex' from Saint-Satur from 6 to 40yo vines. A very pure expression of Sancerre, delicately perfumed with a touch of gras and mineral tension.

Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes
100% Sauvignon
100% Sauvignon (13% alc.)
(13% alc.)

Mostly one parcel in the lieu-dit La Rabotine, a west exposed slope on Kimmeridgian clay (terres blanches) in Sury-en-Vaux where the vines are 50 to 90yo. Ploughed by horse, the topsoil is no more than 30-40cm before reaching the limestone bedrock which is hard to penetrate for the roots. Vinified and aged in tronconic oak vats until bottling in July, it’s quite a step up from Tournebride, more restrained aromatically and more complex, deeply textured with a very intense mineral backbone.

Constellation du Scorpion
100% Sauvignon
100% Sauvignon (14% alc.)
(14% alc.)

Gaudry’s third cuvée comes from the lieu-dit Les Bouloises in Saint-Satur, a SW exposed slope just under a wood where the soil is silex – a mix of flint with loose, quite sandy siliceous clay. The concentration of silex on the surface increases as you travel up the slope and at the top the floor is completely covered with flint. Like Mélodie de Vieilles Vignes it was vinified and aged in tronconic oak vats until bottling in July. The silex seems to bring more tension here, deeply textured again and very bright with flinty undertones. Another sensational wine from Vincent.

100% Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir (13.5% alc.)
(13.5% alc.)

Vincent’s reds are an absolute joy to drink and testament to Sancerre’s potential to make fine, delicately framed pinot. A blend of three plots on Kimmeridgian clay in Sury-en-Vaux, one on the flat and exposed to the sun from dawn till dusk, and the others on south to south-east facing slopes. The vines are 20-40yo and the soil is deeper with up to 50-60cm of clay before the limestone bedrock. Vincent uses whole bunches and adapts the level of extraction to obtain very fine tannins. Ageing takes place in tronconic vats and stainless steel in varying proportions to suit the vintage. It’s a very pretty, elegant style of pinot with beautiful texture and a long, saline finish.