Claude Riffault - Sancerre Rose La Noue 2022
An extremely rare wine… almost a unicorn… Only 0.04% of the wine made in Sancerre is Rose!
100% Pinot Noir from upwards of 60 year-old vines. While we tend to think of Sancerre as producing only white wine, roughly 18% of the region is planted to Pinot Noir. Prior to the scourge of phylloxera in the 1860s, the vineyards were mostly Pinot Noir and Gamay.
Which makes sense when you look at the map. Sancerre is an outlier of the Loire region, laying on its easternmost edge. As Rebecca Gibb of Vinous explains: “It is the same distance from Sancerre to Tours as it is to Beaune, the heart of the Côte d’Or. Nestled high above the big bend of the Loire River, the people of Sancerre have often looked east rather than west, both politically and viticulturally; when it comes to learning about vines and wines, Beaune is the favourite place for budding winemakers to study rather than the quintessential Loire Valley town of Amboise. There are commonalities in climate. Sancerre and Dijon sit on the same latitude: 47.3. When it comes to growing season temperatures and the various ways they can be measured, there are only marginal differences.”
And Sancerre shares the same chalky limestone soil of Chablis and the Cote-d’Or, further separating it from the Loire region we typically associate the region with.
Young winemaker Stephane Riffault makes full use of his Burgundy training with Olivier Leflaive (among others). Working with 30-60 year old, organically farmed vines, Stephane hand-harvests the grapes before naturally fermenting in tank. The juice is a combination of run-off from their red Pinot Noir and pressed juice from young-ish vines. Red cherries and raspberries mix with mineral notes with a hint of anise on the elegant finish.
“The intensely salmon colored wine has changed its style toward red wine, specifically Pinot Noir, and offers an intense, concentrated and highly attractive bouquet of ripe peaches, lychees and other tropical fruits along with red berry, floral and delicate earthy aromas. Vinified in oak and to be bottled in March this year, this is a mouth-filling yet vinous Pinot with nice purity and mineral freshness. The wine is a seriously structured and finely biting Sancerre with cherry and red berry aromas on the finish. It is very much on the fruity side at this early stage but balanced, vital, fresh, highly stimulating and lean rather than big.” WA on 2020
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