Home Posts tagged 'Sancerre'

Posts Tagged ‘Sancerre’

John Herbstritt

Back in Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world with more than 275,000 acres. So why, you ask, are we featuring a grape that doesn’t need any help selling records? We feel that Sauvignon Blanc has suffered from its fame; like a starlet swamped with paparazzi and mired in tabloid scandal, her excesses have been recorded and disseminated, but underneath lies dazzling talent. We are here to resuscitate her career. Sauvignon Blanc has been planted all over the world, and not always in suitable terroirs, but a select few New World regions have emerged to sing with their Old World predecessors.

In the Touraine, where Sauvignon Blanc arguably reaches her highest notes in France, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé are the two prominent spots. They look at each other from either side of the Loire river, and while the wines can be quite similar, they have distinct terroir. When young, the wines are quaffable, mineral-driven and bright, with aromas of citrus and crunchy nectarine, perfect companions for a semi-aged goat’s milk cheese. But with a little bit of age, the differences really emerge. The Sylvain Bailly Sancerre below is a great example of a younger Sancerre, but the aged wines from Gitton that we were able to get our hands on are extremely rare and special. We only have six bottles of each Gitton at our Divisadero Market – email us at wine@biritemarket.com if you’re interested!

Outside of the Touraine, Sauvignon Blanc can respond with quite different flavors, from gooseberry and pepper in Marlborough to ripe stone fruit and honey in Friuli, and even pineapple in Napa. The best versions balance fruit with an unmistakable minerality. New Zealand, in particular, has found an audience here in the US. Charming floral and grassy aromatics combine with fresh acidity to make New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc a tasty aperitif. But many people don’t know that the New Zealand winegrowing industry has also undertaken an unprecedented move towards 100% sustainability through the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand program. You know that when you drink wine from New Zealand that it has been made using sustainable practices.

Love her or hate her, you have to admit that you can’t get her siren song out of your head. She’s been wandering of late, to be sure, but she’s getting her act together. We’re featuring six of our favorite little ditties over the next month at both stores. Tickets are on sale now, so don’t miss em!

FarellaSBbottleshotFarella Sauvignon Blanc | $16.99
Tom Farella is a tireless champion of Coombsville, a wine growing region in eastern Napa. Since Coombsville tends to be cooler than the rest of the region Sauvignon Blanc can avoid the pitfalls of over ripeness and maintain its fresh face. Tropical, grassy aromatics.

Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc | $18.99Nautilus
Many people believe Sauvignon Blanc didn’t gain popularity until the wines from New Zealand came onto the scene. It’s unlike any Sauvignon Blanc in the world, with its intense fruitiness and lush texture. Nautilus is a perfect example of Marlborough, and is delicious for sipping on the porch or as an aperitif.

BaillySylvain Bailly Sancerre |$22.99
Classic and classy, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley is archetypal. With its quiet intensity and striking mineral notes, Sancerre is an ideal terroir to balance the grape’s natural fruitiness and aromatics.  The Bailly family has been making Sancerre since 1700 and is one of the most traditional producers in the area.

Scarpetta Sauvignon Blanc | $24.99 Sauvignon-Blanc-1
Friuli’s Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect midpoint between old world Sancerre and new world New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Less green and aromatic than New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and boasts riper fruit notes found in Sancerre. Scarpetta is a project between two Friuli-obsessed wine veterans, Bobby Stucky and Lachlan Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, CO.

Gitton Père et Fils Pouilly-Fumé Clos Joanne d’Orion 1985 | $54.99 |Only 6 bottles at Divis!
A 30 year old Sauvignon Blanc is something we don’t get to experience often. After visiting the winery in Sancerre and tasting through several older vintages, we were blown away by the complexity of this wine. Nutty, savory, with bright acid and mineral notes.  A complete stunner of a wine.  Email us at wine@biritemarket.comif you’re interested in one of these bottles.

Gitton Père et Fils Sancerre Belles Dames 1990 | $54.99 | Only 6 bottles at Divis!
Ordered and aged at the winery in pristine condition, we’re so excited to offer some of these amazing Sauvignon Blanc from Gitton Père & Fils. Pascal Gitton believes 1990 was one of his greatest vintages for Sancerre and we can understand why. With nearly 25 years of age, this Sauvignon Blanc is surprising lively with stone and citrus notes. We feel like this can go at least 10 more years.  Email us at wine@biritemarket.com if you’re interested in one of these bottles.

John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatches from France

Here at Bi-Rite we love to celebrate the awesome wine made right here in California. Passionate winemakers like Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Ross Cobb at Hirsch Vineyard, and Angela Osbourne of Tribute to Grace are forging their own paths and making food-friendly, vibrant and delicious wines that have a sense of place. I also love to taste things from where they started; every wine buyer has his or her own wine Mecca. For me it’s France. I admit it, je suis un francophile. I love French food, I love French culture. I love the people and their language. And I love their wine. I lived in Paris in dingy apartment for a year teaching English to little French kids, and even though I was pinching my pennies I still managed most days to eat the most delicious baguettes I have ever had to this day and indulge in a bottle of Cahors every once in a while, the first appellation that I ever fell in love with. So it is with great excitement that I am departing to go on a two-week long tour de vin around the country to visit with some of my favorite producers from an importer that we work with, Return to Terroir.

We will be traveling by car in a giant circle around almost the entire country. Landing in Paris we will depart immediately for Champagne, then onto Burgundy and the Northern Rhône and into Provence. We will spend a day or two in Montpellier for the giant organic wine expo Millésime Bio and then head North (to Cahors!), Bordeaux, and Sancerre. We will stay in Saumur for a day or two to check out the Dive Bouteille, the incredible natural wine fair hosted yearly by Catherine and Pierre Breton. From there, back to Paris and a long flight home.

Why am I going? To taste new wine, meet new people, learn a thing or two about what makes winemakers tick, to be sure. I will also be in search of new and exciting wines to bring back home for you, our guests and wine friends; but what I really want to explore is a topic that I mentioned above. That sense of place, terroir as they call it in France. What is it? The best wines from California have an unmistakable feeling of being from here, right now, in the moment. I’ve visited some of these places. Time to check out those other terroirs. I will be making posts here on our Bi-Rite blog to keep all your internauts at home informed about what I will be doing, where I’m going, and hopefully talk about some new wines that are going to make their way over the pond and onto our shelves. Keep checking and see you all when I get back!

A bientôt!