New Arrivals from Les Sablonnettes

Chris, Jo, and now son Je Ménard – Les Sablonnettes (The Little Sandy Ones) – are back. A favourite at ANCESTREL: 13 hectares of soft schist soil, a copse of maples, and a fringe of shrubs define their territory in the heart of the Coteaux du Layon AOC where they’ve been producing a vibrant selection of natural wines for over 30 years. 

You’ll find the word ‘funambule’(tightrope walker) often used by Les Sablonnettes. This is because high-quality natural wine-making is a very fine balancing act. Like the tight-rope walker’s balancing pole, or the water diviner’s divining rod, Les Sablonnettes have a sensible grasp of their guiding instrument: the robust vine branch that determines each step and of the wine-making process. Rigorous and passionate, Chris and Jo are meticulous in their practice of biodynamic methods, remaining constantly attuned to the natural variations of the harvest each year – always with stunning results. 

Some of the vines here are over 50 years old, and all the grapes are harvested by hand. No artificial yeasts or sugars (i.e. by chaptalization) are ever added. And the wines are unfiltered. The red, Ménard le Rouge (named after Auguste Ménard, the family’s first winemaker) is a continuation of his radical spirit – the wine is made by taking grapes in whole bunches which are layered in the tank by variety: first goes the Gamay; then, after a week, the Grolleau; then, another week later, the Cabernet Franc is added (a blend of ‘Cab-Gro-Ga’, as they say). The result, as you might expect, is truly unique: a wine which proclaims itself ‘a loosener of tongues, and a builder of bonds’. Some of the characteristic flavour notes you’ll encounter are, quite frankly, unforgettable. 

If you’re already familiar with Domaine des Sablonnettes then we needn’t say much at all. And if you’re a newcomer to the domaine then it’s our pleasure to welcome you. In any case though, there’s every reason to be as excited as we are for this latest arrival.

For this week only we are offering a mixed case, including a variety of their sweet and dry wines at 15% off.