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2022 Sancerre “Côte des Embouffants”

Domaine Roger Neveu
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A winemaking tradition as long as France’s is bound to produce a few historic vineyard sites here and there. But when some rosy-cheeked monk or abbot—the wine bloggers of their age—singles out a specific plot, you know you have something truly special. In his 1777 history of Sancerre, the abbot Poupart wrote that “the Bouffants hillside is one of the best I know in our Sancerre area.”
     It is perfectly appropriate, then, that the “Côte des Embouffants” is now under the care of the Neveu family, who has roots in the village of Verdigny—just half a mile from the vineyard—since the 12th century. Today, brothers Éric and Jean-Philippe Neveu produce a fresh-cut-grass-and-citrus-inflected Sauvignon Blanc of incredible precision from this site. They ferment and age it only in tank and rack by gravity to preserve all the juicy, sun-ripened fruit and lively mineral snap conferred by this steep, limestone-covered hillside. Generously perfumed and incredibly refreshing, this bottling suggests that, nearly 250 years later, our old pal Poupart may have been onto something.

Dustin Soiseth


Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2022
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Sauvignon Blanc
Appellation: Sancerre
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Domaine Roger Neveu
Winemaker: Éric & Jean-Philippe Neveu
Vineyard: 20 years average, 18 ha
Soil: Limestone
Aging: Wine aged for 3 months before first racking, aged for 8 to 12 months in total
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 13%

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About The Region

Loire

map of Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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Where the newsletter started

Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch

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