The Marathon Sancerre:
2013 François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés

Posted by Ian McFadden

François Cotat may need no introduction. Along with his cousin Pascal and Edmond Vatan, François is a benchmark of Sancerre.

Check out the best wine lists or carefully selected cellars and it's a safe bet that you'll find Cotat.

Cotat's are singular, tactile Sancerres that blossom in the cellar.

There were a handful of years where I neglected to cellar Cotat. After having a bunch of impressive, heart-stirring aged bottles, I've been trying to make up for lost time. François Cotat's Sancerres are just too special not to clear space in my cellar for them every vintage.

"Les Monts Damnés," is sourced from perhaps the most famous vineyard in Sancerre - a place that both Vatan and the Cotats have made legend. The "damned mountains" are so-named because of their steepness and how difficult they are to work. When you see a picture of Monts Damnés, it's obvious that this is great terroir. Monts Damnés is on Kimmeridgian marl, the same soil as parts of Chablis and the Aube in southern Champagne. There's a core of distinctive minerality to all of these wines.

As Cotat's age for 10 or 20 years (or even longer) this minerality moves more and more to the forefront, eventually becoming the dominant element of the wine. This is what's so captivating about old Cotat. There's such an elemental expression to the talc-like and saline impression that, while still subtle, seems endlessly haunting.

I'd be remiss not to focus on the fresher, more youthful Cotats as well. In them, you'll find an incredibly nuanced layering of herbs, citrus, smoke and yellow plums along with that Kimmeridgian minerality that's impossible not to return to. The 2013 Monts Damnés dramatizes all of these qualities.

The Monts Damnés is consistently one of my favorite bottlings of Cotat. It hits the right balance of steely structure and expansive complexity. The 2013 really drives this home. The ripeness and overall harmony seem perfectly judged. There's persistence and a mineral imprint that cause me to think that this will really blossom in the cellar.

This is a marathon Sancerre to drink throughout its life and watch it gain in beauty and intrigue as it ages. It's nice to be able to offer one of the absolute best producers of a region and a bottle that will age for decades for a manageable price. There's simply nothing like Cotat's Sancerres.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden

Director, Fine & Rare Wine

Crush Wine & Spirits

2013 François Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés