Wine of the week: sound the trumpets for this genuine work of art

This sauvignon blanc from winemaker Simon Chotard is a genuine revelation.

2018 Sancerre Blanc, Cuvée Marcel Henri, Domaine Chotard, Loire, France


I am always on the hunt for elite sauvignon blanc, but this is not as easy a task as it ought to be, given there are oceans of examples out there. Most leave me feeling unfulfilled, lacking in drive on the nose, mid-palate traction and drama on the finish. These traits were commonplace 20 or 30 years ago when great terroir did its job and winemaking was less scripted, but today, with selected yeasts, modern viticulture and less rigorous site selection, sauvignon is grown on any patch of dirt going and production by rote eliminates individuality. No one wants to drink vinonymous wines.

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When I sound the trumpets, I mean it, and so this wine is a genuine revelation. Made from two specific parcels of old vines, one of which was planted by winemaker Simon Chotard’s great-grandfather, this wine is vinified and then matured in large, old oak barrels, or foudres, and also steel tanks for 18 months before it is bottled and released. This combination of unique fruit, gentle handling and patient production has resulted in a genuine work of art.

With a score of 18.5/20 in my notes and far too many mentions of the word “classy”, this is a thrilling discovery and the first time I have written up a Chotard wine. If you are new to this estate or indeed if you know them well, then you simply must taste this ethereal and extraordinary creation. It is my sauvignon blanc of the year.

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (

Matthew Jukes

Matthew Jukes has worked in the UK wine business for well over three decades and during this time has written 14 wine books.  

Matthew regularly lectures, judges, speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world. Matthew is also the creator of his ground-breaking initiative, the One Day Wine School, an indulgent day of tasting and learning first performed in 2006.

He has been the MoneyWeek wine correspondent since 2006 and has written a weekly column for the Daily Mail’s Weekend Magazine since 1999. His four highly-acclaimed, annual wine reports – the Burgundy En Primeur Report, the Bordeaux En Primeur Report, the Piemonte Report and the 100 Best Australian Wines – are published on his website,

Matthew is one of the world’s leading experts on Australian wine and, with Brisbane-based wine writer Tyson Stelzer, runs an annual competition in Australia to find ‘The Great Australian Red’.  He was made Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at the 2012 Australia Day Foundation Gala dinner. 

Matthew is a winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year Trophy.  His thoughts, recommendations and tastings notes are followed very closely by the wine world at large.