2010 Sancerre From Serge LaPorte
The Best of French Sauvignon Blanc
- by Cynthia Hurley
Sancerre is the perfect spring wine because its crisp acidity and lemony and mineral flavors make it one of the most refreshing wines out there. And the 2010 is particularly refreshing, as The Wine Spectator will tell you...
Wine Spectator writes "France's Loire Valley...now looks to have rare back-to-back strong vintages in the pipeline. The 2010 harvest appears to be a potentially outstanding follow-up to the excellent 2009 vintage."
Wine Spectator further specifies, " Wines should be fresher in style than the concentrated 2009s, with brighter acidity."
In white wines acidity is what makes the difference between refreshing and crisp and just Ok. It also magnifies the fruit. Acidity is a delicate thing to get just right but in 2010 that is what you get. A perfect palate refresher at a no-holding-back price.
But, there's something almost extraordinary about Serge Laporte's Sancerre. I don't know anyone who doesn't love it and there are many people who just keep ordering it and ordering it so they never have to chance running out. My daughter Margot (who, as many of you know, has inherited my passion and particular palate for wine) is one of those devotees - Serge Laporte's Sancerre was the first case of wine she and her fiance bought together for their own personal consumption.
I first started drinking Serge Laporte's Sancerre about twenty years ago. I'd been trolling for wine around the gorgeous hill of Sancerre, which is in the eastern Loire Valley, and came upon this immense cave where several Sancerre producers happened to be pouring their Sauvignon Blancs that day. I noticed the results of a wine tasting contest among the local growers tacked up on the entrance to the cave and noted that this Serge Laporte wine had come out on top.
I tracked Serge Laporte down - right to his house on a narrow street in Chavignol, the commune northwest of the city of Sancerre and arguably the best place to grow Sancerre. Serge's Sancerre (now his son, Guillaume works with him) is slightly different somehow - more substantial - than the others out there. There is what the French call agrumes, which is like a bunch of citrus fruits blended together, but this wine is also honeyed and minerally and viscous and far more flavorful than the usual Sancerre.
Here is the way Steven Tanzer has described Serge Laporte's Sancerre: "Pale gold. Crushed stone, lime zest and white pepper on the nose. Precise, elegant wine combining density with nervy, mineral- inflected citrus fruit. The lemon, spearmint and spice flavors are complicated by a soil-driven salinity and a hint of white flowers. Finishes with tangy grip and good dusty length. This would be superb with oysters or an aged goat cheese." - Stephen Tanzer
The Laporte vineyards are located on several different sites in Chavignol. They are beautifully exposed properties on the hillsides. Terroir is important in Sancerre. Laporte's vines are planted in parcels of caillottes, which is a stony limestone with little soil, and he also has vines in parcels of argile-calcaire which is clayey limestone.
Each soil type contributes to the wine: caillottes produce wines that are forwardly fruity with finesse and argile-calcaire creates wines that are structured and long-lived. It is just about the best combination you can have in a Sancerre. Serge picks the grapes by hand and vinifies them parcel by parcel to assure that the individual flavors and aromas are accentuated.
Okay, I have made myself thirsty and the evening is coming on. I am moving towards the corkscrew. The Sancerre is already chilled in the refrigerator. What are you drinking tonight? Cynthia Hurley
Please email me with any questions regarding these wines.
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