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This Week's Tasting

Savory Sauvignon Blanc
August 9, 2017

One good Sauvignon Blanc deserves another, or even six. We are following up last week's excellent Alphonse Mellot Sancerre with new vintages of two other favorites as well as another four that have caught our eye and palate.

Mont Damnes

            2016 was a fine year for Loire Sauvignon Blanc. It was not only cooler, but an early spring frost killed many of the grapevines buds, so the remaining fruit was more concentrated. The wines are more classic with striking food-friendly acidities and great concentration. We look forward to tasting two.

            Claude Riffault makes five white Sancerres each from different plots. Our consistent favorite is his Les Chesseignes. Rocky stones on top increase its ripeness and limestone and flint subsoils give it a classically pronounced mineral character. Half is barrel aged which makes it rich and spicy in the mouth. Delectable with seafood of all sorts.

            The Soils at Monts Damnes make for Sancerre of a very different character. Prized for the strongly mineral wines from its steep limestone slopes, it can be the most expensive of the cru Sancerres. Four generations of the Girard family have cultivated this vineyard. Brothers Anthony and David Girardstill work their old vine vineyard by hand. the results are classic, smoky and deep. For fuller flavored seafood and white meats.

            Menetou-Salon is just to the west of Sancerre. There the French wine press rank the mother-and-son team at Domaine Henry Pelle as good as the top domaines in Sancerre. We sold out their Menetou-Salon Blanchais last year with people asking for more than we could import. Their Le Carroir vineyard with more limestone is a wine of greater finesse. The Revue du Vin de France loved it's "beautiful austerity, good cut, and subtle aromatic profile." We did also.

            The Goisots make superb organic, biodynamic wine in St. Bris near Chablis in Burgundy. Although the soils are similar to those around Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc in that area is more delicate and has more finesse than in the Loire. Their Exogyra Virgula is named for the ancient marine fossils that make up a large part of the soils from which it comes.

            2015 Ch de Seuil reverses the traditional grape proportions in its Graves region of  Bordeaux. They use more Semillon, which gives creamier, more guava inflected flavors and textures that nicely balance out Sauvignon Blanc's crisp lemon. This is an all -purpose white when food calls for  more richness and fruit in the wine.

How can we ignore New Zealand? the 2015 Mt Beautiful is a Sauvignon Blanc for those who think they don't like it's grassy assertive gooseberry flavors. How do they do this? The vineyard is in Canterbury, still in the cooler South Island, but away from the cold current and wind that give Marlborough  Sauvignon its strong character. This is balanced and round, more subtle than you would expect, very nice at the price.  




2014 Goisot St. Bris Exogyra VirgulaOrganicBiodynamic Aroma: white fruit, a touch of honeysuckle, and deeper black fruit ; Mouth: direct forthright well balanced with both fat and minerality; Very Good Plus 22.99; Mixed Case, 20.69; Case, 19.54


2014 Henri Pelle Menetou-Salon Morugues Le Carroir; Aroma: clean rather firm, citrus sliding into melon, creamy; Mouth: fleshy & fruity, bright full acid, with a citric finish, flint; Very Good - Excellent 26.99; Mixed Case, 24.29; Case, 22.94


2016 Claude Riffault Sancerre Les Chasseignes; Aroma: Full very rich very dense thick but with  lean spice; Mouth: Melony very rich ripe fruit, bright acid , a  long complete finish; Very Good - Excellent 32; Mixed Case, 28.8; Case, 27.20


2016 Girard Sancerre Les Monts Damnes; Aroma: light clean, lightly lemony, lightly pretty, fresh, clean; Mouth: light clean lemony, very fresh,, firm acidity, lots of smoky terroir that shows mainly on the finish; Very Good Plus 32; Mixed Case, 28.8; Case, 27.20


2015 Ch de Seuil (Graves); Aroma: light fresh very pretty, guava and melon; Mouth: bright acid juicy clean , clean pretty fine acid, long; Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85


2015 Mt Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc; Aroma: clean sweet rather racy, very pretty, straddles old world & new; Mouth: juicy fresh, more fruit and less herbaceousness than Marlborough; Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85


8-9 Sauvignon Blanc Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $266

Instore only 8-9 Sauvignon Blanc Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $141


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: Order@federalwine.com


           - Len Rothenberg


(c) Federal Wine and Spirits Inc. 2017