Thomas-Labaille

Thomas-Labaille

Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this profile:  

"Years ago, we visited an old vigneron in Chavignol who had made fabulous Sancerre before his retirement, from old-vine vineyards in Monts Damnés (Sancerre's greatest vineyard site), with élèvage in old foudres and unfiltered bottlings. We asked him who continued to work in that style and he said "Cotat, and my friend Claude." One thing led to another and we were off to meet Claude Thomas, who was busy pruning his vines in the rain. His wife dragged him into his cellar where he stripped off mud-caked boots and served us several vintages. Thomas was then 73, and wished to retire, but he was holding on in the hope that his daughter and son-in-law would take over. This finally happened when Jean-Paul Labaille, his son-in-law, quit his civil servant job and became a full-time vigneron (for the previous ten vintages, he had taken his vacation during the harvest to be the assistant winemaker to Claude Thomas). Only minimal changes have occurred. The vineyards remain among the best in Chavignol, with a large proportion of old vines. The old barrels are not in use any more, but the vineyard and cellar work still follow the same time-honored techniques. The Monts Damnés plot is too steep a slope to ever consider machine harvesting, which is now the norm in the appellation, and it requires intensive, non-mechanized vineyard work, but this site is worth the trouble: drainage and exposure are excellen,t and ensure the best ripeness for the vintage. Labaille has somewhat tidied up Thomas' facilities, which used to be in sharp contrast to most cellars in the area; instead of a hyper-hygienic room, with wall-to-wall tiled floors and stainless-steel vats, his was a Burgundian type of cellar. Some cuvées still age in large concrete vats, others in stainless steel, and the oak barrels have been re-placed by newer ones, mostly second-hand, 2 to 3 years old, not in order to impart any oaky character to the wine, but to let it breathe and evolve slowly on its lees. The resulting wine is sensational: rich, fat, round, with layered aromas, a subtle nose and a long finish. Not a typical bistro Sancerre, but a graceful wine meant for aging and pleasure."

Image PRODUCT Description Country / Region Region Materials

DB8973-17
Sustainable
Sancerre Chavignol Monts Damnés
2017
Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Thomas-Labaille has vines averaging 30 years old with some much older on the famously steep slope of Monts Damnés in... Read More
France Loire

DB0375-17
Sustainable
Sancerre Chavignol Monts Damnés Cuvée Buster
2017
Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc. This cuvée was first bottled in 1997 in homage to Joe Dressner's and Denyse Louis' dog Buster and is bottled annually... Read More
France Loire

DB0018-17
Sustainable
Sancerre Chavignol L'Authentique
2017
Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc. Originally labeled simply as "Sancerre", L'Authentique is Thomas-Labaille's multi-parcel estate bottling. All of the... Read More
France Loire

DB5352-17
Sancerre Chavignol L'Authentique Rosé
2017
Pinot Noir
100% Pinot Noir. Thomas-Labaille bottles both white and rosé Sancerre called L'Authentique. All of the vines are on the Kimmeridgian... Read More
France Loire

DB8973-16
Sustainable
Sancerre Monts Damnés
2016
Sauvignon Blanc
From a plot of old vines in one of the greatest vineyards in Sancerre. Les Monts Damnés is hand harvested as the slope is far too steep for... Read More
France Loire

DB0375-16
Sustainable
Monts Damnés Sancerre Cuvée Buster
2016
Sauvignon Blanc
100% Sauvignon Blanc from a single barrel of wine made from the oldest vines in Labaille's parcel of the steep, stony, legendary Monts... Read More
France Loire