Domaine Claude Riffault Bio

Country: Sancerre Loire - France

Region: Sancerre Loire - France

At barely 30 years old, Stéphane Riffault (Claude’s son and now owner of the estate) is turning out Sancerre bottlings that are the envy of many producers twice his age. As David Schildknecht put it, “make no mistake: this address in the hamlet of Maison Salle (Sury-en-Vaux) is now one of the five or six most exciting estates in the Sancerre appellation.” Given that Stephane’s holdings represent 4 tenths of 1 percent of the appellation, this kid is clearly doing something right.

Based in the village of Sury-en-Vaux, the domaine works 33 different parcels in 6 different lieu-dits spread across 4 villages. The 13.5 hectares of vines are plowed and no synthetic material is used. In fact this estate has been organic for the past 6 years. Unlike most Sancerre producers, the entire harvest is carried out by hand and an extensive sorting takes place before the grapes are crushed. Stéphane’s wife, Benedicte, leads the harvest team while Stéphane manages the sorting and press during harvest.

Most of the domaine’s holdings are planted on the soft limestone soil called Terres Blanches with some parcels on calliottes and silex. Small, judicious uses of oak help to add length to the already precise and vertical bottling. All of the parcels are vinified separately and with the exception of the rosé, all the wines are bottled unfiltered.

Having studied and worked in Burgundy (and closely with Olivier Leflaive), it’s easy to see the Burgundian influence in Stéphane’s wines. The mastery of minerality standing shoulder–height with the wood is rarely duplicated in Sancerre. Regardless of the exposition of his parcels (many are south-facing), Riffault’s wines are always crisp and high-cut with a jeweled sort of delineation that speaks to the precision and attention these wines get. These are not your daddy’s (or his daddy’s) Sancerres.

Domaine Claude Riffault Bio Collection

'Les Boucauds' Sancerre Blanc Price € 27.30

Sancerre Blanc Les Boucauds2

Sensory features: Clear and bright, its lime, white currant, and grapefruit suffused with chalk and tinged with citrus zest, pear skin, and salt, this displays such purity and ripeness that a nearly sweet impression is engendered on its silken palate, yet at the same time one of animation, invigoration, dynamic interplay and refreshment.

Technical notes: Grape variety - Sauvignon Blanc

VineyardsSituated just next to the estate, this location contains half of our Sauvignon Blanc plots. The vines are between 10 and 50 years old and grow in clay-limestone marl soil. Known locally as “Terre Blanches”, this clay soil dates back to the Kimmeridgian age of the secondary Jurassic era, 140 million years ago.This soil allows the vine to take root deep down. It provides fullness and richness to the wine, whilst the limestone subsoil and small shell sediments endow it with a fine minerality.

Vinification: The wine is vinified in stainless steel vats (approx 50%) and barrels (approx 50%). Ageing lasts 7 to 8 months, when the wine is bottled before the arrival of summer.

Best served: on its own or with shell-fish or fish dishes

Alcohol: 13%

Bottle size: 375ml & 750ml

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'Les Chasseignes' Sancerre Blanc Price € 31.50

Claude Riffault Sancerre AC Les Chasseignes 265

Sensory features: Inviting aromas of lemongrass complicated by wet stone and wild yeast. The bright core of lichee and sweet yellow bell pepper is wrapped in flinty minerals. Refreshing, well structured and appealingly balanced, this sauvignon blanc has a long, leesy aftertaste

Vineyards: Locations known as “Les Chasseignes” are common-place in the Sancerre appellation. This local name designates Caillottes soil: shallow limestone soil and subsoil containing overlapping stones.Our vines are located at Les Chasseignes, to the north-east of the village of Sury-en-Vaux at an altitude of 270 metres. The vines are south-east exposed and so receive the sun and wind from morning to evening.

Viniification and ageing: takes place in stainless steel vats (50%) and barrels (50%) for 7 to 8 months, followed by bottling in spring.

Best served: on its own or with grilled fish

Alcohol: 13%

Bottle size: 375ml & 750ml

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