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  • Vineyard Area: 19 ha
  • Soil Type: Flint & limestone; gravel
  • Varieties Cultivated: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir
  • Country: France

About

 
The Thomas family has been growing grapes and making wine in Sancerre since 1670. Today ninth- and tenth-generation winegrowers Jean and Ginette Thomas, along with their children, Julien and Christale, farm 19 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir based out of the hamlet of Verdigny. Julien recently joined the family business after finishing his studies at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, ushering in a new era at this long-established domaine.
 
The vineyard holdings of Domaine Thomas & Fils represent three distinct soil types within Sancerre: flint and limestone soils to the east of Sancerre, called the Piton; white Kimmeridgian limestone soils known as terres blanches on the highest slopes, to the west; and caillottes, the gravelly slopes rich in clay and limestone situated on the southern slopes of the appellation. Theirs are not lean Sancerres; rather, both their terroir and the house style favor wines of great amplitude and texture with long, lingering finishes.
Jean and Julien farm their vineyards sustainably and shun the use of herbicides. They plow regularly to aerate the soil and allow a carefully controlled, grassy cover crop to grow in between vineyard rows to add nitrogen. De-budding and a green harvest control yields.
 
The Thomas’s farm two parcels in the Piton, which they bottle as “Grand’Chaille,” a soft, fleshy Sauvignon Blanc abundant in floral aromas and fresh acidity. Two of their cuvees bear the name “Terres Blanches,” a rosé and a red from Pinot Noir. Hailing from the celebrated Kimmeridgian limestone that has made the appellation famous, their expressive, textured cuvees are laced with an elegant backbone of chalky minerals, briny notes, and lively acidity. Cuvee “Ultimus” is made from their oldest vines from these vineyards, averaging 60 years of age and yielding 48 hectoliters per hectare—20 percent below what is permitted for the appellation. Their magnificent, single-vineyard bottling of “La Crêle” is sourced from their eponymous, southeastern-facing parcel on the gravelly slopes of the caillottes.
 
Jean and Julien farm their vineyards sustainably and shun the use of herbicides. They plow regularly to aerate the soil and allow a carefully controlled, grassy cover crop to grow in between vineyard rows to add nitrogen. De-budding and a green harvest control yields.
 
Once the harvest arrives at their brand new cellars, the grapes are sorted, pressed gently and then racked into temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks, where they are allowed to mature slowly on their lees for six to eight months. “Ultimus” is the exception, as it is partially fermented in barrel and sits on the lees for 10 months to allow a robust expression of the old vines. Their Sancerre Rouge “Terres Blanches” sees a much different vinification. After the harvest, the grapes are sorted and de-stemmed from their clusters and undergo a two-week cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks to preserve their fresh fruit character. Once the Pinot Noir has reached the proper extraction, it is racked into barrels, where it ages for 12 months. All of the wines are fined with egg whites and lightly filtered before bottling.

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