Domaine Lucien Crochet

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In the very earliest days of my prospecting for wine, I had the good fortune of encountering one of the grand gentlemen of Bordeaux, a certain Nathaniel Johnston, the namesake of the storied negociant firm of Nathaniel Johnston & Sons. Natty, as he was known to friends and colleagues, was steeped in the traditions of the Bordeaux trade since his family had started the firm sometime back in the 1700s. The pleasant days I spent by his side over the course of several visits were some of the most educational of my entire career in the wine trade. I didn’t have the money to play the serious game of Bordeaux; so, we did what can only be described as minimal business together (most of which was with the rustic wines of Chateau Hortevie, an old-style Saint Julien).

All of this little story is prelude to the “how and why” of my involvement with Domaine Lucien Crochet, our long-time, erstwhile producer of Sancerre. At the conclusion of my first visit with Nathaniel Johnston, he asked me where I was off to and I mentioned that I would be departing directly from his office on the Quai des Chartrons to the Loire Valley. He asked if I had yet found a producer of Sancerre for my nascent portfolio; I said “no” and he then referred me to Lucien Crochet who, he said, was making some excellent Sancerre from his outpost in Bué, a few kilometers west of Sancerre. Natty told me to use him as a reference. I did and I am deeply grateful to Monsieur Johnston, a man of impeccable taste and fine manners.

On that first visit to Bué in 1981 to introduce myself to Lucien Crochet, I waded through the various signs for other Crochet-named domaines in the tiny village of Bué before finding the plaque for “Lucien” on a little rise above the church in the center of the village. Lucien was gracious, the wines were lip-smackingly delicious and I ordered 300 bottles of his Sancerre from the Clos du Chene Marchand vineyard. Over the course of 30 years (I write this in January, 2012), that small initial purchase of a barrel of Sancerre has grown to many thousands of bottles purchased on an annual basis from Lucien Crochet and his son, Gilles, to the point where, today, this domaine provides us with the largest volume of wine of any supplier in our portfolio of growers.

It was Lucien’s marriage to the daughter of Lucien Picard, and the subsequent fusion of the domaines of Lucien Picard and André Crochet (father of Lucien), that created the Domaine Lucien Crochet. Monsieur Picard was one of the very first growers in the Sancerre district to begin bottling his wines and selling them primarily to restaurants in Paris. Lucien Crochet expanded the work of his father-in-law and, over a thirty year period, also expanded the domaine so that it now encompasses 38 hectares of vineyards, almost all of which are located in the village of Bué with smaller holdings in the neighboring villages of Vinon and Crézancy.

Twenty-nine hectares are planted to Sauvignon Blanc and the remaining 9 hectares are planted to Pinot Noir. The soils are clay and limestone from the Oxfordian and Kimmeridgian eras. The vineyards are on slopes of varying severity and run from south-east to south to southwest in their exposure to the sun. Since 1989 only organic supplements have been used in the vineyards which are planted to a density of between 6600 (older plantings) to 8700 vines per hectare. The harvest is manual, the soil is worked immediately around the vine but the growth in the rows between the vines remains throughout the growing season. There is a substantial range of wines produced at the Domaine Lucien Crochet and we present each of these cuvées in the USA.

Crochet-Sancerre-2001 Sancerre Blanc: The grapes for this basic cuvée of Sancerre are sourced from the vineyards in Bué, Vinon and Crézancy. After harvest, fermentation is done in stainless steel cuves at temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius. As with all the whites at the domaine, this wine sits in contact with the fine lies for a considerable period of time with the racking being done late in the spring following harvest. The first bottling occurs no earlier than July and frequently does not occur until September of the year following harvest.
Crochet-Croix-du-Roy-Blanc-2001 Sancerre Blanc Croix du Roy: Sourced from several parcels that are planted in rocky, white soils with an east-southeast exposure (including the “Clos du Roy”), this cuvé is the most full-bodied and masculine of the three core Sancerres of the domaine. Vinified in stainless steel with a late racking to insure that the wine captures the essence of the terroir, the wine is bottled in September of the year following harvest.
Sancerre Le Chene Marchand: This wine is produced from vineyards in the village of Bué (principally the “Clos du Chene Marchand”) that are planted uniquely to clay-limestone soils, known as “caillottes and griottes” which yield a wine of particularly fine quality and exceptional length. Usually harvested earlier than the other cuvées because of the excellent exposure of the vines to the sun, “Le Chene” maintains an elegant acidity in support of the ripe fruit of these well-positioned vines.
CROCHET-CUVEE-PRESTIGE Sancerre Blanc Cuvée LC Prestige: This wine is produced only in the finest of vintages and is the product of the oldest vines (50 to 55 years as of this writing in January 2012) of the domaine. The vineyards consist of Oxfordian era limestone, are on very steep slopes at 230 meters altitude that afford excellent drainage and have full southern exposure. The fermentation occurs in temperature-controlled cuves, the first racking is done in July following harvest and the wine is bottled 20 to 24 months after harvest.
Crochet-Vendange-du-25-Octobre-2000 Sancerre Blanc Vendange du 10 Octobre 2006: On the rare occasions when this wine is made (2006, 2002, 2000, 1997), the same three parcels are always used. Two of those parcels are composed of limestone from the Oxfordian age and the third is classic white Kimmerdigian soil. To make this wine three criteria must be met: the grape skins must be intensely yellow turning towards gold, there has to be proper acidity to marry to the advanced ripeness and the grapes must be completely free of disease and/or rot. The harvest date is usually 10 days to two weeks after the normal harvest is complete. Two-thirds of the fermentation occurs in stainless steel with one-third occurring new barrels. The wine is racked for the first time in August following the harvest and is bottled usually during the second winter after harvest.
Crochet-Pinot-Rose Sancerre Pinot Rosé: Made exclusively of Pinot Noir harvested from several parcels … a mix of Oxfordian “caillottes” and Kimmeridgian “marne”. This Rosé is made using the direct press method with the whole berries entering the pressoir. The musts ferment in temperature-controlled cuves (85%) as well as a small percentage in older barrels (15%). The fermentation occurs over three weeks. The wines is bottled in the spring of the following year.
Crochet-Sancerre-Rge-2002 Sancerre Rouge Croix du Roy: From grapes harvested from several parcels which include a mix of stones and marne with south-southeast exposure. After a manual harvest, the grapes are pressed and the fermentation proceeds for approximately 30 days. Both remontage and pigeage are done but the degree to which they are practiced depends on the structure of each vintage. Sixty percent of this cuvée is aged in barrel and 40% in stainless steel for one year. The wine is then assembled and, for an additional eight months, is aged in stainless steel before being bottled approximately two years after harvest.
CROCHET-CUVEE-PRESTIGE Sancerre Rouge Cuvee LC Prestige: Again, a wine made only in the finest vintages and composed of Pinot Noir harvested from the oldest vines (average age of 50 years as of January 2012) of the domaine. The vineyards are a mix of two terroirs: Oxfordian “caillottes” and Kimmeridgian “marne”. The grapes are entirely destemmed; there is a period of cold maceration; the fermentation extends for three weeks. Remontage and pigeage are practiced. Elevage is done in barrel: a mix of new oak (40%), oak of one year (40%) and oak of two years (20%). The wine is bottled after twenty months of elevage.
Download Crochet tech sheet
Domaine NameLUCIEN CROCHET S.A.
Family/Owners NameCROCHET
How many years has the family owned the domaine?The 2 grand-fathers of Gilles were wine-growers in BUE. Lucien Crochet merged the two estates, so the company was created in 1973.
How many generations?3 GENERATIONS
How many hectares of vines are leased?95% OWNED BY THE FAMILY AND LEASED BY THE DOMAINE
How many hectares of vines are owned?1 HECTARE OWNED BY THE DOMAINE
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? When? LUTTE RAISONNEE, INTEGRATED CROP PROTECTION
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.). PLEASE ALSO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR REPLY: Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse? Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning? How do you fertilize?SUPERFICIAL TILLING, PRUNING IS SHORT, SINGLE GUYOT, DISBUDDING, HARVEST : HAND PICKED, LEAF THINNING, JUST BEFORE THE HAND-PICKING, WE USE ORGANIC COMPOST – APPLICATED DURING THE WINTER
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.YES WE BUY GRAPES FROM SOME SPECIFIC WINE-GROWERS, APPROX. 7 HA, NO WE DON’T SELL GRAPES
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac?NO WE DON’T SELL OFF WINE EN VRAC
WINE 1SANCERRE AOC 2015
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSANCERRE AOC
Cepage/UvaggioSAUVIGNON
%ABV14°1 - vintage 2015
# of bottles producedApprox. 100.000 BT
Grams of Residual SugarApprox 3 gr.
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsBlend of several lieu-dit of our Estate + purchase of grapes
Exposures and slope of vineyardsAll exposures, except North
Soil Types(s)Calcareous clay soil-based “caillottes” and “griottes” and white earth
Average vine age (per vineyard)Average age 20 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7000 - 8800
Approximate harvest date(s)END SEPTEMBER – EARLY OCTOBER
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?2015 Early budburst, Early and very ripe harvest.
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster, direct pressing
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeStainless steelen tanks
Duration of contact with lees6 till 7 months
Duration of skin contactNo skin contact
Select or indigenous yeast?Select yeast
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Racking by pumping, Cold settling after about 36 hours
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)100% STEELEN TANKS – TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeBentonite fining, Tangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release? PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?We sulfur at the harvest, After fermentation, When bottling, About 25 mg / l free sulfur. Very good vintage
WINE 2RED CROIX DU ROY 2013
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSANCERRE AOC
Cepage/UvaggioPINOT NOIR
%ABV13
# of bottles producedApprox. 35.000
Grams of Residual Sugardry
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsSeveral lieu-dit
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSeveral exposures, except North
Soil Types(s)Caillottes, Griottes and white earth
Average vine age (per vineyard)About 30 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7.000 – 7.200
Approximate harvest date(s)END SEPTEMBER – EARLY OCTOBER
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmed100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeIn stainless steel tanks
Duration of cuvaisonAbout 30 days
Duration of contact with lees11 months
Duration of skin contactNo skin contact
Select or indigenous yeast?Select yeast
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. The grapes are table sorted
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationCompletely destemmed, Pump-overs, Punch-downs, A malolactic fermentation in summer
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)70% in oak barrel, 30% in steelen tank for 1 year, than blended and again 6 months in steel
Duration of elevageAbout 18 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketDepending on the vintage
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeNo fining
Tangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release? PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Yes we add sulfur at the harvest, On bottling, 15 mg / l free sulphur
WINE 3CROIX DU ROY 2015
GENERAL INFORMATION
Appellation SANCERRE AOC
Cepage/UvaggioSAUVIGNON
%ABV13°8 - vintage 2015
# of bottles producedApprox. 70.000 BT
Grams of Residual SugarApprox 3 gr.
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsBlend of several lieu-dit of our Estate
Exposures and slope of vineyardsAll exposures, except North
Soil Types(s)Oxfordian limestone soil-based “caillottes” and “griottes”
Average vine age (per vineyard)Average age 25 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7000 - 8800
Approximate harvest date(s)END SEPTEMBER – EARLY OCTOBER
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?2015 Early budburst, Early and very ripe harvest.
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster, direct pressing
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeStainless steelen tanks
Duration of contact with lees6 till 7 months
Duration of skin contactNo skin contact
Select or indigenous yeast?Select yeast
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Racking by pumping, Cold settling after about 36 hours
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)100% STEELEN TANKS – TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED
Duration of elevage10 – 11 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market6 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeBentonite fining, Tangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?We sulfur at the harvest, After fermentation, When bottling, About 25 mg / l free sulfur
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Very good vintage
WINE 4CHENE MARCHAND 2015
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationSANCERRE AOC
Cepage/UvaggioSAUVIGNON
%ABV14°4 - vintage 2015
# of bottles producedApprox. 40.000 BT
Grams of Residual SugarApprox 4 gr.
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsCHENE MARCHAND is a highly renowed lieu-dit in the village of BUE
Exposures and slope of vineyardsAll exposures, except North
Soil Types(s)OXFORDIAN LIMESTONE, The soil is shallow and stony, Named “Caillottes”
Average vine age (per vineyard)Average age 25 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)7000 - 8800
Approximate harvest date(s)END SEPTEMBER – EARLY OCTOBER
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?2015 Early budburst, Early and very ripe harvest.
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWhole cluster, direct pressing
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeStainless steelen tanks, sometimes a small part in oak
Duration of contact with lees7 till 8 months
Duration of skin contactNo skin contact
Select or indigenous yeast?Select yeast
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Racking by pumping, Cold settling after about 36 hours
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)100% STEELEN TANKS – TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED
Duration of elevage10 – 11 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketDepending on the vintage
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeBentonite fining, Tangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?We sulfur at the harvest, After fermentation, When bottling, About 25 mg / l free sulfur
PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Very good vintage
WINE 5ROSE 2016
GENERAL INFORMATION
Appellation SANCERRE AOC
Cepage/UvaggioPINOT NOIR
%ABV13.5
# of bottles producedApprox. 25.000
Grams of Residual Sugardry
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsSeveral lieu-dit of our Estate + purchase of grapes of 2 hectares
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSeveral exposures, except North
Soil Types(s)Caillottes, Griottes and white earth
Average vine age (per vineyard)About 25 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)Approx. 7.000
Approximate harvest date(s)END SEPTEMBER – EARLY OCTOBER
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
% whole cluster, % destemmedWHOLE CLUSTER
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeIn stainless steel tanks
Duration of contact with lees6 months
Duration of skin contactNo skin contact
Select or indigenous yeast?Select yeast
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. The entire bunches of grapes are fed into the pneumatic presses by means of conveyor belt. Fermentation of the must in temperature-controlled vats.
PLEASE ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING, IF APPLICABLE:Fermentation lasts approximately 20 days
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationRacked in March, Bottled after 6 months of ageing
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)In stainless steel tanks
Duration of elevage6 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketshort
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeBentonite fining, Tangential filtration
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release? PLEASE DESCRIBE THIS FINISHED WINE FROM THIS VINTAGE. HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PREVIOUS VINTAGES?Yes we add sulfur at the harvest, At the end of Fermentation, On bottling, 25 mg / l free sulphur
Vins Rosés
Commentaire sur le processus Saigné ? Presse Directe?Direct pressing

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