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The Domaine Sylvan Bailly is family-run wine business based in Bué, a village in the heart of the Sancerrois. Their vineyards are spread over the towns of Bué, Sancerre, Crézancy and Montigny.
The history of the Bailly family making wine in Sancerre started about 1700. Winemakers since the XVIIIth century, generations have succeeded each other over time, defying all the difficulties of the past three centuries. After many challenging periods, the era of prosperity only commenced in 1950s, when Sylvain Bailly began to grow business and prosper. His son Jacques has been at the helm since the late 1980s.
The Bailly’s estate covers 12 hectares and is spread over 23 separate parcels. The vineyards are located mostly around the village of Bué with holdings in the famous vineyards of Chêne Marchand, Grand Chemarin, le Château and les Chasseignes. Among their holdings is the great vineyards and famous Chêne Marchand—the latter of which has evolved from its original name Choix Marchand, or “Merchant’s Choice,” which literally translates to mean “a merchant’s choice”, because it was the wines from this vineyard that the merchants kept for themselves.
Their land is made up of limestone and calcareous clay with 75% Sauvignon and 25% Pinot Noir planted.
The soils around Sancerre are composed of two types: chalky limestone with little top-soil from the upper hillsides, which lends an intense floral bouquet and finesse to the wines; and lower hillsides clay-based soils scarce in chalk but rich in topsoil, which imparts a full, rich texture and greater age-ability. Domaine Croix Saint Ursin’s terroirs are sustainably farmed and composed of roughly 60% chalky soils and 40% clay-based soils. This variation enables the Baillys to grow Pinot Noir (for both red and rosé) in the clay soils and to split the Sauvignon vineyards between both the chalk and the clay-based parcels.
In 1995, the vineyard extended to the Quincy appellation. This vineyard of the Center-Loire varietal Sauvignon, allows the winery with Sancerre to offer a complete range of wines in white, red and rosé coming directly from the domain.
Sylvain Bailly Prestige Sancerre is produced in only excellent vintages and drawn from parcels with the oldest vines (50+ years old) on the steepest, chalkiest hillsides around the village of Bué. The upper hillsides wine is then blended with a small amount of old vine juice from the lower hillsides wine. The upper hillsides wine provides minerality, grace and high-toned expression of the Sauvignon grape while the lower hillsides wine provides richness and body to create an extraordinary vintage. The wine is aged on its fine lees for over a year in stainless steel vats (95%) and oak barrel (5%) before bottling after the harvest of the subsequent vintage. It is released a year after bottling which adds complexity and roundness as well as bringing up the fresh fruit aromas.
The nose shows classic mineral notes rounded out with some exotic fruit and citrus. In the mouth it is huge and quite concentrated with lots of minerals and acidity to balance it out.
Ageing potential: from 4 to 8 years.