Domaine du Pré Semelé lies in a tiny valley a few miles northwest of the hilltop town of Sancerre. The estate is now managed by the third generation of the family Raimbault, brothers Julien and Clément, vigneron and winemaker, respectively. They are guided by their father Rémy, who has worked the vineyards for decades with his brother Claude. This is another wonderful example of the younger generation taking over the reins of a family estate and elevating it to a new, higher level.
As you weave your way down from the hilltop town of Sancerre, world renown for the region’s wines made from Sauvignon Blanc, you pass Monts Damés, one of the most famous vineyards of Sancerre, through the tiny town of Chavignol, famous for little goat cheeses called “crottin,” you climb over the hill of Monts Damés and down into a little valley. There you will find Maimbray, Sury en Vaux, a little hamlet nestled at the foot of hillside vineyards. It is here that three generations of the family Raimbault have grown grapes and made wine. Grandfather Maurice worked the vineyards, 3ha, with his brother Camille. Maurice’s sons Claude and Rémy followed suit in 1988 expanding the holdings, 12ha. In 2001 Rémy’s son Julien stepped in as vigneron and the three created a new name, Domaine du Pré Semelé (pronounced pray sem-ill-ay, it is the name of the plot of land on which the winery sits.) Claude retired in 2009 and Remy’s son Clément became the winemaker. With Rémy nearing retirement, Julien and Clément manage the 18 hectares of vines across 45 different parcels, three quarters Sauvignon Blanc and the rest Pinot Noir.