Great Sancerre Backed by Ten Generations
The Domaine Raimbault-Pineau is our favourite Sancerre of 2016 so far, and the most mouthwatering and mineral-driven we’ve encountered from the vintage. All the experience of an incredible ten generations of grape-growers goes into this masterfully crafted Sauvignon Blanc. Drawn off vines rooted in the famous chalky-clay and limestone soils of Raimbault-Pineau’s pristine vineyards, the wine is rich and juicy on the attack with a stony austerity and intense minerality braced by a fine acid backbone. This would be a good $40 Sancerre — but at just $25, this is a triumph.
Ten generations of the Raimbault family have been farming the chalky hillsides of the Eastern Loire for three centuries. In 1946, right after the end of WWII, Lucien Raimbault was able to purchase vineyards in Sancerre — something that his ancestors never had the means to do. Today, the Raimbault family continues to work the original Sancerre plot purchased in 1946, and in-addition has purchased 40 separate plots of AOC Sancerre vines, all located around the village of Sury-en-Vaux.
The 2016 growing season in the Sancerre started in tragedy but ended in triumph. It began with a flash April frost, shrinking the yields off the hillsides of Sancerre. Spring and early summer remained cold and wet. The less rigorous growers played it safe, choosing not to drop fruit. Like Edmond Vatan and François Cotats, Raimbault gave his vines a crewcut, making for better aeration between the clusters while jumpstarting maturity. Handsome dividends were paid in the late September harvest.