Ageworthy Sauvignon Blancs From the Loire Valley

Even the savviest wine drinker can fall for the fallacy that only red wines can age. But Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc has something to say about that.
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There’s a common misconception in the wine world that white wine should always be consumed young while only reds are suited to aging. But the Loire Valley, home to such storied appellations as Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, is turning out a wealth of Sauvignon Blanc that will truly turn heads after a few years in bottle. Here’s a selection of ageworthy white wines from the Loire to save for a rainy day, all 90+ points, and when best to drink them.

Recommended Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Alphonse Mellot 2016 Edmond (Sancerre); $92, 95 points. Named after Alphonse Edmond, the father of present owner of Alphonse Mellot, this is the top wine from an always-impressive estate. Richness and concentration almost overwhelm the wine at this young stage, showing that it is set for aging. The acidity and biodynamically grown fruit of this powerful wine need to open up. Drink from 2020. Elite Wines Import. Cellar Selection.  —Roger Voss

Château de Tracy 2015 Haute Densité (Pouilly-Fumé); $70, 94 points. This wine comes from a densely planted vineyard, with nearly 7,000 vines per acre. Low yields and superripe fruit have yielded a concentrated wine, intense with white fruits and acidity. Age this wine until 2019, to let its richness mature. Martin Scott Wines. Cellar Selection. —R.V.

Domaine Laporte 2016 La Comtesse (Sancerre); $46, 94 points. This wine comes from vines on the edge of the village of Chavignol, one of the top sites in Sancerre. Balanced and mineral driven, it is structured with acidity and tangy, tight texture. The wine also offers apricot and white stone-fruit flavors finishing with concentrated acidity. Drink from 2019. Martine’s Wines. Cellar Selection. —R.V.

What Really Happens as Wine Ages?

Domaine Vacheron 2016 Les Romains (Sancerre); $70, 93 points. Opulent and rich, this wine offers intense, ripe yellow-fruit flavors and crisp citrus acidity that are enhanced by the concentrated texture. It is just now ready to drink but will age further, at least until 2022. Its name refers to the Romans who came to Sancerre. European Cellars. Cellar Selection. —R.V.

Henri Bourgeois 2017 La Côte des Monts Damnés (Sancerre); $35, 93 points. This steep slope of vines dominates the village of Chavignol, home to the Bourgeois family. An aromatic wine, it is crisp, textured and full of citrus and gooseberry flavors. This beautiful wine is still young, so wait to drink until 2019. Monsieur Touton Selection Ltd. Cellar Selection. —R.V.

Jonathan Didier Pabiot 2016 Aubaine (Pouilly-Fumé); $40, 92 points. Based in Les Loges, one of the small settlements around Pouilly-sur-Loire, this father-and-son team has made a rich, intense wine that shows the aging potential of Pouilly Fumé. It has power, ripe white fruits and concentrated acidity. Drink from 2019. Polaner Selections. —R.V.

Domaine Jean-Paul Balland 2017 Sancerre; $23, 91 points. This wine has a good balance between rich apple flavors and tight acidity and minerality, reveling in the warm 2017 vintage. The texture is taut, but the young wine will soften in a few months to offer smoothness and roundness. Drink from 2019. Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits. —R.V.

Domaine Fouassier 2017 Clos Paradis (Sancerre); $60, 91 points. This rich wine has not lost its acidity or mineral-driven white fruits. With a touch of pepper on the palate from the alcohol, the wine is full, dense and will be better from 2019. Opici Wines. —R.V.

Domaine Laporte 2017 Les Grandmontains (Sancerre); $35, 91 points. With an edge of tangy fruit, this wine is ripe, concentrated and intensely textured. Its strong citrus fruits, great acidity, concentrated minerality and zesty freshness are still developing. It needs time to round out and become even richer. Drink from 2020. Martine’s Wines. —R.V.

Published on November 2, 2018
Topics: French Wine



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