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Claude Riffault Les Boucauds Sancerre 2011

Sauvignon Blanc from Loire, France
  • WS91
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

#97 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012

On the nose, the wine reveals aromas of white fleshed fruit and citrus. The generosity of the soil has resulted in a wine that is full-bodied on the palate. The fine minerality and acidity gives the wine freshness. It can be enjoyed on its own or with shell-fish or fish dishes.

Critical Acclaim

WS 91
Wine Spectator

This white is still tight, exhibiting a very chiseled feel to the flint and gooseberry notes. The mouthwatering, rapier finish lets chive flower and fleur de sel notes chime in. Could have some staying power in the cellar.

RP 90
The Wine Advocate

Lime and cherry-almond scents lusciously inform the silken palate of Riffault's 2011 Sancerre Les Boucauds in a fashion that calls to mind Saar Riesling. Accents of mint and stone add interest to a finish of delightful and mouthwatering persistence, even if this displays nowhere near the energy or interactive complexity of the corresponding 2008 and 2010.

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Claude Riffault

Claude Riffault

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Claude Riffault, , France - Other regions
Claude Riffault
Domaine Claude Riffault, which has been family-owned and run for five generations, is now in the hands of Claude’s son Stéphane who is working the soil in a much more organic fashion than his father. Chemical herbicides are no longer used on the parcels and there is a heavy weed cover in most of the parcels. The family owns 33 different (and quite small) plots on steep hillsides in four different villages. Part of the vineyard is made up of limestone soil which produces while vines with great fruit and explosive aromas. They also own a smaller amount of vines on flint soil which produces wines of incredible minerality and precision. The vines are ll vinified by plot and by soil type before some are assembled to make a small number of bottlings.

Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, The Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river which flows through the region. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, further from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

RPT72196397_2011 Item# 121202

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