Girard

The Domaine Girard is run by Fernand and Monique Girard and their son Alain. They come from multiple generations of winemakers in the tiny village of Chaudoux, a few miles northwest of the town of Sancerre, due north of the famous hamlet of Chavignol. The Girards tend 12 hectares of vines, selling off most of their fruit and bottling the rest under their own  name. Their top wine (the only one imported) is named La Garenne, after the 2.5-hectare plot from which the fruit comes. The east-facing slope is steep and sunny, allowing for consistently ripened fruit; the soils are rocky and rich in limestone, thus well-drained and warm as well. While not farming organically, the Girards treat only sparingly, as needed, in the vineyard. Their cellar is modern--pneumatic press, stainless steel vats,  temperature control, air-conditioning--but the approach in the cellar old-fashioned: yeasts are entirely indigenous. The result of their work in the vines and cellar is a classic expression of chalky Sancerre terroir, a crisp, flinty, snappy-green, fully-ripened wine.