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Boulay Sancerre Chavignol 2023

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Country/State France

Region Loire

Subregion Sancerre


Type Sauvignon Blanc

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We’re not just talking Sauv Blanc, we’re talking about amazing Sauvignon Blanc from the greatest place on Earth to grow it, from the master winemaker of the variety. We’re talking about really darn good Sauvignon Blanc – Gerard Boulay’s Sancerre.

Even though Sancerre has been made since the 1400s, unlike Chablis and Burgundy, it doesn’t have the complexity of laws governing its vineyards. In some ways this is good – I believe the wines remain dramatically underpriced, simply because they lack the tag “Grand Cru.” In other ways, this is bad – about 75% of wine under the appellation isn’t grown on Kimmeridgian soils, the same soil type that—in both Sancerre and Chablis—gives the wine minerality, drive and energy. Instead, many are grown on clay or sandy soils. Not all Sancerres are created the same, and it can be a bit of a minefield.

Gerard Boulay’s Sancerre is an example of Grand Cru. Gerard traces his history in Sancerre at the small village of Chavignol back to 1380. At the town square, the records division mentions Jean Boulay as an owner of vineyards. The wines of Chavignol Sancerre are produced on “terre blanche” soils, making them some of the most distinctive and soil-inflected Sauvignon Blancs produced in the Loire, with a delineation and minerality often reminiscent of a top Chablis (or white Burgundy). And here, with the 2021 vintage, we are getting one of Boulay’s best.

The wine opens with a stellar bouquet of gooseberry, tangerine, lime peel, great minerality, white flowers and a touch of fresh tarragon in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and rock-solid at the core, with outstanding focus and grip, snappy acids and great soil signature on the long, complex and very classy finish. Of course I will be drinking this immediately, but for those of you who stash a few bottles away, you are in for a divine treat – this will age exceptionally well, for more than a decade.

Wines like this come at a price, and Boulay is never cheap. But luckily enough, we were still able secure a small allocation at a great price. When you’re looking for the ultimate in Grand Cru summer refreshment, look no farther.