The Resurgence of the Loire Valley – Premium Appellations Are Reasserting Themselves with Every New Release…

Much has been written about the brilliance of the Loire Valley whites and reds, but of course the 2015 vintage heralded some very opulent, exotic, atypical whites and indeed some super suave, rich, ripe, elegant reds. I will be the first to admit that I have been so preoccupied tasting 2015s that I have failed to get a good look in on the 2016s that seem will be imminently released into the market due to low trade stock holdings. As a buyer, it gets just harder and harder to keep up with new releases, especially when either demand is high or supply is so meagre due to short European vintages.

Today I took the opportunity to have another look at the Comte Lafond Sancerre 2016 white, drinking a bottle over lunch. Baron Patrick de Ladoucette produces this wine in the Sancerre Controlled Appellation area, which includes the villages of Bué, Chaudoux, Chavignol and Verdigny. Vines are aged from 25 to 35 years and the the soils are typically a combination of clay, limestone and silica.

Comte Lafond Sancerre 2016, 12.5 Abv.

This is a super elegant Sauvignon Blanc with the most delicate, pretty aromatics. So expressive and complex with a nose of white peaches and cream, lemon butter, sweet baking herbs, thyme and fresh crunchy green fennel root notes. So multi-dimensional and multi-layered, with stem ginger and lemon grass nuances dominant. The palate is taught, direct and focused with lashings of crunchy gooseberry, green Granny Smith apples, green tea and yet more crushed fennel root. Lovely balance, vibrant crisp crunchy acids and an alluring chalky, dusty Bon Bon sweet palate that is so tantalising. This Grand Vin possess such lovely depth and texture, but is perhaps more linear and mineral than the exotic 2015, and more piquant and fresh, more in the mould of the superb 2014. A fabulous expression from the Loire with incredible concentration of flavour and detailed length. Drink now to 2026+.

(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

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