2007 Philippe Raimbault Sancerre Apud Sariacum

Sitting here in our cool warehouse at the beginning of January dressed in layers, I find it difficult to think of the nervy, mineral, pleasantly chilling virtues of Sancerre. However, I am reminded that it is Dungeness Crab season after all, not to mention that oysters have been tasting pretty darn good lately. And what is the perfect accompaniment to such fare? Well, Sancerre, of course! Even though my windshield was iced over this morning, the idea of some freshly picked crab or a dozen oysters along with a glass of brisk Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc all of a sudden sounds very attractive! I’m such an easy sell!

Vintage 2007 in the Loire vividly captures the electrical snap and brightly acid, limestone-inflected character that seduce many to the pleasures of Loire whites. While 2005 and 2006 were very good vintages in the Loire, they emphasized lushness, with rich, tropical notes across the board. But while 2007 in general provides wines with crackling, precise minerality, they certainly do not lack fruit – bright lime and succulent grapefruit flavors can be found all over the place.

Among the work of Sancerre growers, Philippe Raimbault’s Sancerre Apud Sariacum aptly sums up the best of Sancerre in 2007. Restrained and mineral driven, my notes include descriptors like cool, suave, elegant. On the nose and palate, it is all subtle lime and limestone with lithe texture and an overall sense of poise. Apud Sariacum refers to the fossilized stones littered throughout Raimbault’s vineyard that you can virtually taste. Mmm… even though I’m chilled to the bone at the moment, my mouth is watering for bivalves and Sauvignon Blanc. Forget that spritz of lemon, all you need is a gulp of Raimbault’s citrus-and-mineral goodness to enliven your shellfish!

With the price of many of the world’s celebrated white wines on the rise (not to mention the price of seafood!), it is refreshing to see many fine whites from the Loire remain sensibly priced, and Raimbault’s Sancerre is no exception at $22.49 per bottle, or $17.99 per bottle by the case. Don’t hesitate to stock up now, not only to weather crab season, but to take you into the spring and summer, when you will no doubt no less appreciate its refreshing charms!

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Filed under French Wine, Patrick Mitten

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