François Le Saint is the label used by the Fouassier family, owners of Domaine Fouassier and is one of the oldest wine growing families in Sancerre, for wines made from their certified organic, biodynamically-farmed vineyards.
At the time of the phylloxera, Jules Fouassier was part of the 500 wine growers of the Sancerre village (Today, there are about ten). After the phylloxera crisis, Jules Fouassier planted the Clos Paradis in 1902. He caused a stir in the vineyard since he planted this plot at 1.20 squared meters with the trellis we know today (1 stake of acacia every 5 feet and three wires). Jules was a leader in many fields and so was the first who used copper and sulphur to fight against the oïdium and downy mildew.
In 1923, Jules’ son Gustave Fouassier participated in a farm competition in Paris in which the appellation os Sancrre first was exposed to a wider audience. In the 30’s, Gustave’s son, Raymond Fouassier, started to work in the vineyard at only 13 years old since his father was suffering from a serious disease. In 1958, Raymond Fouassier was the first to bring a straddler-tractor (a Bobard) into the vineyard. Raymond continued mechanizing and, in 1959 sold his last Percheron plowhorse.
In 1966, Pierre Fouassier (Raymond’s elder son), started to work in the farming at the end of his studies at the viticultural High School of Baume. The 70’s marked a new mechanical and economic growth. As far back as 1971, Jean-Michel (Raymond’s younger son came) came back to work in the vineyard after having finished his studies at the viticultural High School of Baume. The new century started with the arrival of the tenth generation with Benoit in 2000 (Jean-Michel’ son) and Paul in 2001 (Pierre’ son) who brought new ways of operating and organic culture to the vineyard.
The three wines offered under the François Le Saint labels are pristine, pure, fresh examples of what is possible with organic farming and sensitive wine making.
FRANÇOIS LE SAINT Calcaire Sancerre, 2015 ($26.49)
Under the organic label from Domaine Fouassier (the largest landholder in Sancerre), this 100% Sauvignon Blanc grown in Calcaire soils. From the pneumatic press, the free-run juice is transferred by gravity to stainless steel tanks for an indiginous yeast fermentation. The Sancerre is briefly aged on fine lees to add complexity. Green straw color with good legs; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics. Delicious supple ripe citrus and tree fruit Sancerre with a fine mineral character. Textured and dimensional with layers of flavor unusual in under $70.00 white wines. Hints at tropical. A great wine from a great vintage. BearScore: 94.
FRANÇOIS LE SAINT Sancerre Rosé, Sancerre, 2016 ($26.49)
Under the organic label from Domaine Fouassier (the largest landholder in Sancerre), this 100% Pinot Noir Rosé (30+ year old vines) was organically grown in Calcaire soils. From the pneumatic press (where there was some skin contact), the free-run juice was transferred by gravity to stainless steel tanks for an indigenous yeast fermentation. Work in cellar is based on the biodynamic calendar. Rose-salmon color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and light phenolics. Lovely pure fresh mineral and red fruit expression of pink Sancerre with just enough citrus and a hint of spice. Focused, fresh, and alive. Very Summertime but also very food friendly. BearScore: 91+.
FRANÇOIS LE SAINT, Calcaire Sancerre Rouge, 2013 ($28.99)
Under the organic label from Domaine Fouassier (the largest landholder in Sancerre), this 100% Pinot Noir is grown in Calcaire soil. Aggressive pruning keeps yields low. Indiginous yeast fermentation. Aged 12 months in French oak barrels and then 2-3 years in neutral cement tanks. Red-purple color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and medium phenolics. Dusty earthy darker red fruit Pinot with good development. Has a sort of Nuits structure with a Bouzy Rouge (still Champagne) kind of earthiness. BearScore: 92.