Domaine Pascal Cotat is a small 2.5 hectare domaine that is perhaps the truest example of a “vin de garage”, Pascal also being the proprietor of the local Peugeot garage in Sancerre. This domaine came to life after the French government ruled that “independent producers” could no longer sell the same wine under two different labels. However, Pascal’s father and uncle had been doing just this, sharing the family’s vineyards and winery to produce wines that they each sold under their own label. They decided to use this ruling as an opportunity to retire and hand the mantle over to their respective sons Pascal and François, who split up the vineyard holding and started up their own labels. Just recently, Pascal further separated himself by building his own new winery in Sancerre.
Pascal owns 2 Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in Chavignol (which is within the Sancerre AOC – some producers from Chavignol have tried to get a separate mention in the AOC). Chavignol is in fact already famous as an AOC, but for cheese - the “Crottin de Chavignol” is a goat’s cheese you will find on cheese plates in all of the best French restaurants and is one of the best matches with Pascal’s wines.
The Grande Côte vineyard is a 60 year-old, 1 hectare vineyard on a steep North facing slope (30%). The soils are very rich in clay. It is entirely owned by Pascal and François Cotat, and the name has been registered as a trademark.
The Monts Damnés vineyard is a famous lieu-dit in Chavignol – some other renowned producers in Sancerre also own some parcels within this vineyard. Pascal’s own plot is 1.5 hectares in the higher grounds, also facing due North, and vines are around 35 years-old.
Pascal also owns 12 acres of Pinot Noir in Sancerre which he uses to make his Rosé.
Pascal uses a very modern pneumatic press and is pressing whole bunches without crushing nor destemming. The must is then transferred by gravity for debourbage to a stainless steel tank and then to 50 year-old demi muids (600L) for fermentation.
Pascal Cotat has been classed as a Five Star, Outstanding Sancerre Producer by Robert Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide (5th edition):
Cotat produces old-style Sancerre, quite different from the norm found today… rich, full flavored, thick, and sometimes not bone dry. They are some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs I have ever put to my lips.