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Alphonse Mellot Sancerre La Moussiere 2014

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Biodynamic and hand harvested. Veiled behind a single row of poplar trees as you enter the town Sancerre, on the Bué-Sancerre road, lies La Moussière; one of the most notable and best kept vineyards in France. This beautiful, rolling slope with cultivated, rocky, limestone soils lies on the ancient Saint-Doulchard marls which from part of the great Kimmeridgian chain (à la Chablis). This terroir, when coupled with this house’s meticulous biodynamic cultivation and low yields, is responsible for some of Sancerre’s most striking and atypical wines.

2014 is one heck of a vintage chez Mellot. Those who crave substance, purity and tension in their white wines will be blown away. As usual, 50% of this wine undergoes large-format barrel fermentation – a fact that in no way compromises the fabulous line, elegance and energy – while 50% is raised in traditional concrete vats, before blending.   The wines are aged on fine lees for a period of roughly 12 months, further enhancing the wine’s famously deep, pulpy texture. The ’14 is a flawlessly ripe and vibrant wine, flickering with intense, ripe citrus peel notes that hook you in before waves of energy-rich, layered fruit take over. This texture is balanced by threads of chalky, spicy freshness and a long, saline finish. A great La Moussière.

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Alphonse Mellot is a touch eccentric, a familial trait he has passed on to his son, Alphonse Jr and daughter Emmanuelle, the nineteenth-generation who now hold the reigns of this longstanding Domaine. Come to think if it, pretty much every facet of this grower could be considered a touch eccentric in the context of Sancerre. Like many of the most famous and commercially successful regions in France (Chablis & Champagne for example) Sancerre is highly industrial. Today some 95% of fruit is machine harvested and conventional, high yield viticulture remains the norm. In this world, Mellot’s biodynamic vineyards stand out like nobody’s business; hand-harvested, immaculately tended, densely planted to 8,000-10,000 vines per hectare (which means much lower yields per vine) and with a large proportion of very old vines. Remarkably, the Mellot family employ one full time vineyard worker for every 1.5 hectares of vines (that’s without the extra team members at pruning, harvesting, debudding, etc). And the wines themselves?  Produced with very low yields, fermented in large format oak and concrete and bottled without filtration, these are flat-out unconventional Sancerre; deep, stony titans with the texture and vibrancy and length that can stack up against the finest Burgundy.

Additional Information

Volume (ml)750ml
Winemaking PracticesMinimal Intervention
Vineyard PracticesOrganic/Biodynamic
Product typeWine White Sauvignon Blanc
RegionLoire Valley

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