Gérard Boulay farms 11 hectares of vines densely planted at 8,000 vines per hectare in the commune of Chavignon. These steep, south facing slopes provide the vines with distinguished terroir allowing Gérard to consistently produce beautiful Sancerre year after year. His comfort in vineyard work is of no surprise as the domaine can trace its orignins back to the 14th century as land records indicate Jean Boulay farmed the same vineyards in Chavignol which Gérard works today. In fact, David Schildknecht described Gérard Boulay as “one of the Sancerre growers whom I consider the odds-on favorites to succeed year after year.”
While extremely humble at just over 60 years of age, Gérard Boulay takes great pride in his vineyard work. All vines are worked and harvested by hand with only four workers assisting him in the vineyards. Gérard’s main focus is to express not the grape itself but the soil from which it thrives in. The domaine’s youngest vines were planted in 1972 allowing for an average vine age of over 50 years. With the domaine’s vines planted on the slopes of Chavignol’s kimmeridgian or “terre blanche” soils, Chavignol’s terroir shines through all of Gérard’s wines. Remeniscent of Chablis, it is Chavignol’s unique soil which provides the domaine’s vines with the striking minerality and structure needed to produce wines of extreme quality.
In the cellar, all of the domaine’s wines ferment naturally as no yeast is ever added. Sulfur use is minimal and only the Sancerre blanc Chavignol Tradition undergoes a light filtration if needed before bottling. Each of Gérard’s Chavignol terroirs (Clos de Beaujeu, Mont Damnés, La Côte, and Comtesse) undergo élevage on the lees in used oak. In particular we must note the historic lieu-dit Comtesse comprised of 70 year old vines in the lower part of Mont Damnés; a wine of intense beauty and structure. Given the aromatics, texture, and crystalline purity of his sauvignon blancs, there are few if any who produce wine in Sancerre at the quantity of Gérard Boulay.