by Kermit Lynch
THREE TAKES ON SAUVIGNON BLANC
Unlike Ronald Reagan’s redwood tree, if you’ve seen one Sauvignon Blanc, you haven’t seen them all—especially if you shop at 1605 San Pablo Avenue. Diverse terroirs = diverse wines. It is so cool to actually taste terroir’s role. Comparing these selections side by side will broaden your wine horizons.
2011 SAUVIGNON BLANC “UNIQUE”
A crisp, fresh blast of the varietal sure to wake up sleepy palates . . . Good body—not light, not heavy—vigorous, boldly flavored. From sandy soil.
$14.95 per bottle $161.46 per case
2010 SANCERRE “CUVÉE MARCEL HENRI”
DOMAINE DANIEL CHOTARD
Aubert de Villaine told me that he prefers “understated” wines. An understated Sancerre is not easy to find—you’ll encounter more rambunctiousness than finesse, usually. Here, however, is a cuvée spéciale that is not an oaky giant. The vines are fifty to sixty years old, and the wine is aged on its lees eighteen months before bottling. Welcome to depth, complexity, understatement, finesse.
$34.00 per bottle $367.20 per case
2010 QUINCY “VIEILLES VIGNES”
Sauvignon grown in gravelly soil and ripening about a week earlier than nearby Sancerre—that’s the only reason to go to Quincy. The terroir gives the varietal a somber note in the midst of its lovely fruit—that’s what attracts me. Sancerre is the eternal optimist, while Quincy has one eyebrow raised in doubt.
$25.00 per bottle $270.00 per case
P.S. If you compare the three, recork the remains—they’ll keep for three days in the fridge.
CABERNET FROM THE LOIRE
2011 CHINON “BEAUMONT”
CATHERINE ET PIERRE BRETON
This will be a lot of fun this winter—its freshness and harmony are just right for many winter soups and stews. Try it in and with coq au vin, for example—a bottle into the pot, another onto the table. I like the chicken served hot and the Chinon on the cool side.
$28.00 per bottle $302.40 per case
TWO RAVISHING VOUVRAYS
CATHERINE ET DIDIER CHAMPALOU
We know that Thomas Jefferson drank wine with breakfast—he documented the fact himself. Here is the wine with which he should have begun his mornings, a gorgeous, dry, slightly sparkling, light-as-a-feather Vouvray that leaves nothing but deliciousness on your palate and wonderment in your mind. Loaded with impeccability!
$22.00 per bottle $237.60 per case
2010 VOUVRAY “LA DILETTANTE”
CATHERINE ET PIERRE BRETON
Attention, fellow apéritif fans: don’t miss this beauty. Your palate will thank you for your tender love and care. It is just so . . . peachy. As in peaches. You know how Meursault can hint at peaches? This one is loud and clear about it. The grape is the Pineau de la Loire, and I remember when René Loyau told me that he believed the grape to have been the Pinot Chardonnay—brought from Burgundy centuries ago—which then evolved in its own unique fashion in Vouvray’s chalk—sort of like the Sangiovese/Niellucciu evolution in Corsica.
$23.00 per bottle $248.40 per case