It would be hard to recall when it happened exactly that our friends from the Billecart-Salmon Champagne House called us, saying that they have this friend, Monsieur Jolivet, and that we should help to get his wines into Hungaroring’s VIP section.
We started communicating and a few cases of Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc soon arrived, plus a smiley, big-haired French bloke. And since the wines were here, of course, we tasted them.
Pascal is the travelling ambassador of the bohemian lifestyle and the unique French Sauvignon Blanc, to whom the Loire Valley wine region owes a lot. And, of course, so do we, the ones who drink his wine.
He started as a champagne and wine merchant, then in 1990 he built his own winery. In 1993, he purchased his first 6.5 hectares of vines with which the winery that bears his name was born. Within a couple of decades, his estate reached its current size of 95 hectares, out of which 80% is in his own property, 20% is given by the vineyards of producers who have been loyal to him since the ‘80s.
We used the word bohemian to describe him, yet he’s very astute: he considers the introduction of the terroir and the place of growth his task through the local grape variety, Sauvignon Blanc. His aim is to make exceptionally sophisticated white wines that are the true imprints of the Loire Valley’s exciting climate and soils. He broke with the general practice of the place and has been making his wines in the most natural way possible the since the beginning. He ignores the use of varietal yeasts and ferments with the help of wild yeasts, with minimal use of sulphur – for which he was regarded as an eccentric by many people.
The temperature-controlled steel tanks that are used for making traditional method sparkling wine play a huge role in his winemaking as with the reductive technology and temperature control, he makes wines that have pure aromas, complex aromas and vibrant acidity.
With the new parcels came new soils: the only variable in his wines made from the same variety and the same technology is the place of growth. Sancerre has limestone soil, Pouilly-Fumé has flint, and it’s not just a myth: you can feel it the in the wines.
In the meantime, he gradually changed over to organic, then biodynamic cultivation for which he asked for the help of the wine region’s most well-known expert. Although, the wine world raves about New Zealand’s and South-Africa’s Sauvignon Blancs, with all his moves, Pascal calls attention to the variety’s classic, Old World, timeless values.