HISTORY OF DOMAINE: The Crochet domaine evolved through the marriage of the Crochet and Picard families, with the latter family having commenced its vineyard holdings in the Sancerre district as early as 1765. It was the great-grandfather of Lucien Crochet who first installed that part of the family in the region and it was in 1934 that the first bottling of wines occurred at the domaine. The domaine now is under the direction of Lucien Crochet and his son, Gilles.
COMPOSITION OF DOMAINE: The Crochets have 31 hectares of vineyards planted in various parts of four communes: Bue [20 hectares], Vinon [4 hectares], Crezancy [4 hectares], and Sancerre [3 hectares]. Bue is located in the southern part of the Sancerre appellation and it is the smallest of the villages in this district. The Crochets are the largest single holders of vineyard property in Bue.
The soil composition in this area yields wines that are highly aromatic with excellent balance; the wines are less rustic than Sancerre from other parts of this appellation. Much of the Crochet holdings are located in the fabled vineyards of the "Clos du Chene Marchand" [vines of 35 years average age produce approximately 20,000 bottles per annum of "Le Chene"] and the "Clos du Roy" [again 35 year vines and 20,000 bottle annual production of the "Croix du Roy" cuvee]. In addition, the domaine produces approximately 80,000 bottles of Sancerre drawn from a variety of vineyards. Production levels are usually in the range of 40 to 55 hectoliters per hectare. When harvest conditions are particularly favorable, the Crochets make a special selection to create two cuvees of special note: one, the "Cuvee Prestige LC" drawn from several old vines plots; and, the second, picked on a specific day late in the growing season from 3 special parcels, showing the actual harvest date on the label. Of the 31 hectares in production, six are planted to Pinot Noir and are located in large part in the "Clos du Roy" and the "Cote de Bue". The Pinot is used to produce two different cuvees of Sancerre Rouge (the "Croix du Roy" and the "Cuvee Prestige LC")and about 15,000 bottles of Sancerre Pinot Rose. Total annual production at the Domaine Lucien Crochet is approximately 180,000 bottles.
METHOD OF VINIFICATION: Harvest is done manually. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are crushed in a pneumatic press; juice is racked off the heavy lees 18 to 24 hours after crushing; fermentation proceeds under controlled conditions at low temperatures. The wines remain on the lees in stainless steel until March of the following year. The wines are lightly fined and filtered and bottled just prior to the next year's harvest. Malolactic fermentation never occurs. The late harvest Sancerre and the Cuvee LC Blanc are partially barrel-fermented and barrel aged in small oak (approximately 15% new). Prior to 1990 the red wines were not destemmed. However, beginning with the 1990 vintage, all the red wines are 100% destemmed. Vinification of the reds is done in classic Burgundian style with extended cuvaison and malolactic fermentation occurring in barrel for the Cuvee LC. The reds are bottled after 15 to 18 months of aging.