Sancerre is famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, so most vineyard real estate is reserved for that classic white grape. Thus, red Sancerre is much more elusive. This one from producer Claude Riffault is the only one we have, but it’s a stunning specimen. Stéphane, a striking man in his 30s with serious eyes and curly hair has taken over for his father, and is already held in extremely high regard in the Sancerre region and worldwide for his award-winning wines. Based in the village of Sury-en-Vaux, the domaine works 33 different parcels in 6 different lieu-dits spread across 4 villages. It’s s storybook region, with sweeping hills striped with vineyards, and the town center nestled in the confluence of the hills. This Pinot is planted on Kimmeridgian limestone, or Terre Blanches, which imbues the elegant, supple fruit with precise minerality and depth. It’s a lovely Pinot to put next to any Burgundy in its price range.
Hatzidakis Winery Santorini - $34.99
The sun bleached island of Santorini is a crescent moon of volcanic ash and rock miles off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea. A volcanic blast some three thousand years ago formed the island into roughly the shape it holds today, and provides fascinating terroir for the region's many vineyards. The Hatzidakis Winery has been making organic wine from native grapes for twenty years. This complex, beautiful white is one of the most interesting white wines we've tried. It's 100% Assyrtiko, golden yellow like a Santorini sunset, with intense aromas of citrus and white flowers. The palate is dry as a bone, with crunchy, mouth-watering acidity, minerality, and hints of citrus and flowers. Drink this with lamb grilled in grape leaves, with fresh tomatoes, raw onions, and briny olives, alongside flatbread and slices of crumbly, salty feta.
Ehrhart Domaine Saint Remy Cremant d'Alsace - $23.99
Lively, crisp bubbles with a toasty, yeasty nose and a green apple, snappy finish from old-school Alsatian producers. The Ehrhart family has been making wine in the region for nearly 300 years, with painstaking non-interventionist methods. Philippe and Corinne Ehrhart are proudly organic and biodynamic, harvesting their grapes by hand and fermenting them with native yeasts. They vinify all their parcels of land separately, such is the Alsatian emphasis on terroir (a French obsession, yes, but also a German one.) Their cremant is 100% Chardonnay, bottle-fermented in the Champagne method. Drink it with seafood or ripe French cheese, or on its own.