Pascal Jolivet, founded in 1987, is one of the most dynamic domaines in France’s Loire Valley. Based in Sancerre, the domaine now owns 95 hectares of vineyards spread across the appellations of Sancerre (75), Pouilly Fumé (20) and 50 hectares in Touraine. The domaine supplements the estate holdings with additional fruit sourced from long-term contract growers from some of the prime sites of the region including ‘Les Caillotes’, ‘Le Chêne Marchand’ and ‘Le Clos du Roy’. Jolivet owns 42 hectares of vineyard in Sancerre, close to the villages of Bué, Verdigny and Ste Gemme and 8 hectares in the villages of Les Loges, St Andelain and Tracy in the Pouilly-Fumé appellation.
Valentina Buoso, a young, dynamic winemaker took over from her predecessor, Jean-Luc Soty, who had worked with Pascal for 22 years, in 2013. Pascal shares his philosophy with Valentina: to work in harmony with nature to produce wines with purity of fruit, a linear character and minerality, allowing a natural expression of the vineyard to give the wines a sense of place.
Pascal’s twofold vision is to retain the style and quality of the wines but with greater precision and elegance, and to refocus on the Loire as ‘the home of Sauvignon Blanc’. The natural potential of the fruit is ‘passively’ developed, meaning that no chemicals are used for juice clarification and no industrial yeasts during fermentation. This approach to winemaking has been embraced since Pascal’s first vintage back in 1990. He is a firm believer in natural winemaking, and practices environmentally friendly techniques in both the vineyard and the cellar: “I do a kind of biodynamic vinification that takes time, but results in wines you can drink and enjoy without fatigue. My wines have finesse, elegance, and purity, with clean aromas and flavours. There is a paradox in the winery, because I use technology, but only to control fermentation, not to interfere. I make natural wines that are easy to drink, not ‘technical wines’ that are heavy and don’t go with food. I have a strong philosophy that our wine is meant to compliment food. We follow our own logical approach to respect the grapes and make Sauvignon Blanc wines that are fruity and vibrant” – Pascal Jolivet