This family domaine of 9ha located in Chavignol can trace its history back to 1380. The land records for that year mention a Jean Boulay as owner of vineyards in Chavignol. At the time, the Clos de Beaujeu in Chavignol was already known for the quality of its white wine which is remarkable since Sancerre was known as a red wine area until after phylloxera. In the 14th century the Clos de Beaujeu supplied the Cathedral of Bourges with white wine.
Of the 9ha owned by Gerard Boulay, 8 of the hectares are on the slopes of Chavignol on Kimmeridgian or “terre blanche” soils (actually similar to the soils in Chablis). The wines produced on “terre blanche” are some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs produced in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis. Among its top ranks, including some of Boulay's neighbors (the Cotats, Vatan, Thomas-Labaille), these are gorgeous, ageworthy wines that are a clear step above "regular" Sancerre.
Gerard Boulay works the soil manually. The youngest vines at the domaine were planted by Mr. Boulay in 1972. The average vine age is about 45 years old. The wines ferment naturally. He adds no yeast and minimal amounts of SO2. The Sancerre-Chavignol is fermented in tank and undergoes a light filtration before bottling. The Clos de Beaujeu (from a vineyard of 0.75 hectares) is fermented in barrel and bottled without filtration. He described his role as one of “surveillance” to make sure nothing goes wrong. In general he works by instinct, “au feeling” because he wants to “let the wine live” and tries not to interfere with the natural process. “C’est la nature qui fait le vin” (Nature makes the wine). less