ack in 2010, we realised we were going to have to look further off the beaten track to source well-crafted wines at accessible prices. Happily, we were tipped-off by an aficionado about the Gardrat brothers' superb Sauvignon Blanc and, having enjoyed a sample sent by post, decided it merited a visit in person. Thus, we added a visit to their cellars outside Cozes in the heart of the Charente-Maritime to our next buying trip and were able to taste their wines sur place.
Today, brothers Lionel and Jean-Pierre Gardrat preside over 35 hectares of vines producing Pineau de Charentes as well as some commendable single-grape wines. Their organic Sauvignon Blanc is grown on free-draining, chalk and limestone soils and exudes a wealth of varietal character with uplifting cut-grass and gooseberry aromas and a tangy, citrus-edged palate preceding a long, whistle clean finish. It makes for a failsafe aperitif or partner to fresh fruits de mer.