SEBASTIEN RIFFAULT AKMENINE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017
LIVELY SINEW THOUGHT-FILLED
ORGANIC / NO SO2 / 75OML
A deeply complex Sauvignon Blanc - trademark acid backbone with primary fruits kept in check by time in old oak. Slightly botrytised fruit brings with it a glycerol weight. Such a dynamic wine.
From the distributor: Sauvignon blanc from a 3ha parcel in Verdigny. 30-year-old vines on average, grown on clay and limestone. 30% botrytis. Direct press, then fermented and aged for two years in tank, then one year in old barrels. Zero SO2.
Sébastien Riffault makes Sancerre like no other. These are incredible wines with a cult status, found in some of the world’s top restaurants, bars and wine shops. Whilst the majority of the region is filled with chemical induced vineyards and austere, formulated wines, Sébastien’s wines are atypical. One of the main factors is that he picks late so that the grapes are partly affected by botrytis – however, the wines are vinified dry. This coupled with long élevage and zero additions (apart from 10ppm SO2 in Les Quarterons) brings about wines of a unique and ethereal nature. They are complex wines of contemplation.
He ploughs between the vines with horses, and forgoes the use of machinery. The grapes are picked by hand, and more importantly, sorted by hand (grape by grape), to ensure only quality berries are used, and that any gray rot is removed – a risk when botrytis is found. The grapes are fermented naturally in tank and then stay in tank for two years. All wines (except Les Quarterons) are then transferred to old wood except for another year of ageing. They are never fined or filtered and are bottled by gravity. These are seriously intriguing and complex wines, and are not to be missed.
JONATHAN DIDIER PABIOT POUILLY FUME SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019
LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
PUNCTUAL FLINT TAUT
CLASSIC / BIODYNAMIC DEMETER / 12.5% ALC
Located south-east of Sancerre Pabiot makes beautifully poised Sauv blanc. The vines are farmed Organically, also adhering to biodynamic principles. The wine is a clear example of place - strapping acidity, subtle stone fruit and sherbet.
From the producer: For this cuvée, we use all our young vineyards between 4 and 10 years old. Planted on clay-limestone and flint clay soils in Pouilly Sur Loire. Aging takes place in stainless steel tanks on the lees for around 6 to 8 months. The bottling of Prélude is always the first of the new vintage, therefore the name Prélude.
BERNOIT + PAUL FOUSSIER LES GRANDS CHAMPS SANCERRE SAUVINGNON BLANC 2017
CURD CHALK GOOSEBERRY
CLASSIC / ORGANIC BIODYNAMIC / 750ML
30-40 year old Sauvignon Blanc vines planted on shallow Kimmeridgian soil. Drinks like lemon curd, gooseberry with malo lees weight. Classic Sancerre grown and matured with the lunar cycles in mind.
From the Distributor: Established in 1749 in the heart of Sancerre, Domaine Fouassier is one of the oldest wine growing families in the Loire Valley with a history that spans several generations. For centuries they have dedicated themselves to preserving and capturing the terroir and the noble Sauvignon grape varietal through an extensive range of appellation wines. The new century began with the arrival of Fouassier’s 10th generation, Benoit and Paul. In continuing to honor the terroir as their ancestors did, the brothers took things one step further, converting to organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. In 2011, they were certified by ECOCERT and BIODYVIN, both of whom recognized Domaine Fouassier as 100% compliant with all international organic and biodynamic guidelines.
SORRENBERG SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019
TACTILE FLINT MELON
CLASSIC / ORGANIC BIODYNAMIC / 750ML
Sorrenberg has championed the balance of texture and aromatics in their iconic Sauv/Sem blend. To achieve this balance, the Sauvignon blanc is left on skins for a handful of hours before being pressed to ferment in predominantly larger format oak. It is also aged on lees to further build complexity and texture. In the glass expect green pears, flint, lees weight and moreish acidity.
From the producer: This wine comprises of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Most of the Sauvignon Blanc fruit had 8 hours skin contact prior to pressing. The Semillon component is crushed and pressed immediately after picking. This wine was 100% barrel fermented with predominantly larger barrels used. All went through natural yeast fermentation. The extended lees contact helps fill out the middle palate and gives this wine the extra dimension it is known for. The nose of the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon is showing a combination of Meyer lemon, grapefruit and a hint of kiwifruit and green pear. These fruits follow on to the palate with a freshness combined with refined acid creating a minerally, well-rounded finish. Cellaring potential 8 years.
PHILIPPE TESSIER CHEVERNY BLANC SAUVIGNON BLANC 2019
LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE
BRIGHT PEPPERS PURE
CLASSIC / 750ML
The 'Cheverny' is a blend of Sauvignon 82%, Orbois 11% and Chardonnay 7%. A beautifully balanced lees-textured blend that has a refreshing green chilli edge. A pure white wine grown on sandy clay soils.
From the Distributor: Philippe has been at the helm of Domaine Tessier since 1981, where his main goal is to produce honest, sincere and enjoyable wines that speak of their origin and natural balance. The vines benefit from biodiversity; encouraged by grassing in between the rows and strictly no chemical input. Across the Domaine you will find the usual Loire suspects: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Côt, Romorantin and L’Orbois. The former was originally a Burgundian variety but it is now exclusively grown in and labelled as Cour-Cheverny. L’Orbois, also known as. Philippe blends the native Orbois with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay to make his utterly delicious Cheverny Blanc.
Philippe’s vines have been certified organic since 1998 and he treats the vineyards with maximum respect, working the soil or treating according to the requirements of the vineyard not a recipe. He harvests exclusively by hand, rare in his part of the Loire, into crates so that the grapes can be sorted before being processed.
To continue the same spirit used in the vineyards, minimal intervention is used in the winery with no added yeasts or sulphites during production. He ferments and ages his wines in a wide selection of vessels and materials and even has some Georgian qvevri installed in the winery; we knew we were in the right place when we spotted those in the cellar. Philippe believes in making the technical analysis of each wine available online so that anyone consuming the wine can know exactly what they are drinking. This transparency comes through faith and knowledge of the journey from grape to glass, where the life of the soil, local environment and vine are respected equally. It is Philippe’s philosophy that his artisanal wines should give the drinker pleasure but also be healthy, alive and natural. We know exactly what he means - their vibrancy and purity is evident in the glass!