Sancerre is a big AOC with at least three main soil types (Cretaceous limestone, Kimmeridgean limestone and flint are all present in a big way) and wide variations in quality and style, based primarily on these geologic variations, and on aspect to and distance from the Loire River. And, of course, the decisions of the humans involved profoundly shape end results; this may be the area of France most completely given over to squeaky clean, technology-driven winemaking. Sancerre is an appellation where stainless-steel stocked and ceramic-tiled caves are common, facilities closer in appearance to the region’s hyper-clean cheesemaking facilities (goat cheese lovers owe it to themselves to try a bottle with the local Crotin de Chavignol- prepare for pure chèvre bliss) than they are to the moldy, earthy, old-wood-and-cobweb decorated cellars still encountered elsewhere in France, notably Burgundy. Claude Thomas was a winemaker from the latter, older aesthetic. Old large barrels, no filtration, great vineyard holdings. Since taking over from his father-in-law, current proprietor Jean-Paul Labaille has moved this domaine one step toward 21st century Sancerrois winemaking. Old vines still provide most of the fruit, and cellar and vineyard techniques remain unchanged from Thomas’ era. Cement, stainless-steel and 2-3 year old oak barrels have replaced older foudres for aging. Machine harvesting is common in Sancerre, yet avoided at this estate.