Pinot Noir is famed, and adored, for its complex array of sous bois (undergrowth sounds so much better in French) flavours, so seems tailor made for autumn. Antoine makes this with as little intervention as possible, including bottling straight from the tank with very little filtration, so give it a decant when you have opened it to allow a bit of air in. The nose shows dark plum, black cherry and classic Pinot earthy favours. The palate is light and fresh, with a core of dark fruit and a whisper of fine, powdery tannins. A versatile wine, whether sipped on its own or matched with grilled meats or charcuterie, hearty salads, cheeses and pate.
About the Domaine
This small domaine in the heart of Menetou-Salon was created in 2003 by Laurence and Géraud de Farge. Laurence’s father Bernard was involved in setting up the Menetou-Salon appellation in 1959 and her passion for this land is obvious. They are now in the process of handing over to their son, Antoine.
With just 10 hectares of vines they know every inch of their vineyards and harvest by hand, unusual in these parts. The soils, like Sancerre, are limestone and clay, ideally suited to both Sauvignon Blanc, which makes up 80% of their vines, and Pinot Noir. Yields and quality are controlled by de-budding and careful sorting prior to vinification.
Antoine de la Farge is an ambitious young man and a skilful wine maker. As well as taking over from his parents at Domaine de l’Ermitage in Menetou Salon he has developed a range of wines under his own name, designed to showcase the grapes and appellations of the Eastern Loire. These wines are produced on a small scale and with great care – Antoine works with growers his family have known for years, everything is picked by hand and fermentations happen naturally. The wines are made in stainless steel to emphasise their purity and freshness.