Winemaker Claude Thomas retired in his late 70s when son-in-law, Jean-Paul Labaille took over as vigneron.
Since then, only small changes have been made. The vineyards remain among the best in Chavignol, with a large proportion of old vines. The Monts Damnés plot is too steep a slope to ever consider machine harvesting, which is now the norm in the appellation, and it requires intensive, non-mechanized vineyard work. But the slope receives excellent drainage and exposure, which ensure the best ripeness for the harvest. Jean-Paul Labaille creates in a Burgundian type of cellar. Some cuvées still age in large concrete vats, others in stainless-steel. The old oak barrels have been replaced by newer ones two to three years old, less to impart oaky character to the wine, but rather to let it breathe and evolve slowly on its lees.
If you thought Sancerre was all the same, it really isn't.
We sell a lot of Jean-Paul's limited production to the East Anglian trade.