Last night, Thursday May 30, I joined the Sons of Bacchus and Daughters of Dionysus for a tasting of French Sauvignon Blancs. It was a very interesting tasting. Sauvignon Blanc is largely thought of as a Bordeaux white varietal, but more is grown in the Loire Valley. The tasting was comprised of 18 wines (too many!)for 12 tasters. Below are the wines that were of the greatest interest, with my notes and scores.
2010 Domaine Gerard Boulay Sancerre, Clos Beaujeu - This showed that Sauvignon Blanc can age well. It showed a gold color and a floral nose of pear, peach, citrus, pear blossoms, lemon verbena and flint stone. The flavors were distinct, dry and saline with a dry finish. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Guiraud Bordeaux Blanc Sec - This is a dry white from Chateau Guiraud in Sauternes. It showed a light gold color and intriguing aromas of pear, peach, melon, lemon curd and wet stone. The flavors were crisp and minerals, with fine delineation. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Gittau Pouilly-Fumé Clos Joanne d'Orion ($35) - Pouilly-sur Loire is across the river from Sancerre and the wines are similar. This one displayed a light gold color and flowery aromas of white lilac, wildflowers, wet stone and whiffs of smoke. The flavors comprised typical Upper Loire Sauvignon, with notes of minerals and precise fruits. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre, "Les Baronnes" ($29.99 - wine.com) - Henri Bourgeois is a respected producer in Sancerre. The cuvée showed a light gold color and typical aromas of pear, peach, wet stone and smoke, with nicely fruited and delineated flavors that finish dry and balanced. 18.5/20 points.
2017 Henri Bourgeois Sancerre, "Les Monts Damnées" ($36.99 - wine.com) - This tête cuvée was outstanding. It showed a lemon-gold color and aromas of apple. gooseberry, lemon curd, jasmine, wildflowers and smoke. The flavors were elegant and finely delineated, with notes of flint stone and grape skins, followed by a long, precise finish. 19/20 points.
2016 Château Carbonnieux Graves Blanc ($36) - This was by far the best Bordeaux Blanc of the tasting. Composed of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon, it exhibited a medium gold color and rich aromas of pear, peach, lime, meadow flowers and jasmine. The flavors were saline and precise, marked by the classic "Graves" mineralogy. The finish was long, dry and invigorating. 19/20 points.
2017 Domaine Thomas Sancerre, "Les Comtesses" ($29.99 - wine.com) - This was another fine Sancerre. Lemon gold colored, it possessed a nice perfumed nose of pear, peach, lime, gooseberries, white flowers and white smoke. The flavors were saline and precise, with a long, steely but finely fruited finish. 19/20 points.
2015 Blanc de Chasse Spleen Bordeaux Blanc - This was another fine Bordeaux Blanc. Brilliant lemon-gold colored, it emitted floral aromas of apple, citrus, peach and lemon verbena. The flavors were balanced and precise, with notes of straw and minerals, and a touch of toasty oak. 18.5/20 points.
2015 Domaine Fleuret Sancerre, "Côte de Marloup" - This was a nicely aged Sancerre. It showed a gold color and a smoky nose of pear, peach and gunflint. The flavors were well delineated, underlain with a fine richness and a long, crisp, finely balanced finish. 18.5+/20 points.
There also were two other Bordeaux Blanc wines, a 2017 and 2016 Blanc de Lynch Bages. Both came on as being pleasant but uncomplex and middleweight. Given the prestige of Lynch Bages, it is outrageous that such wines should be offered at $60 a bottle.
I brought two bonus wines, a 2018 Sancerre Rosé from Isabelle Garrault and a 2017 Domaine Thomas Sancerre Rouge. Sancerre is thought of as being white wine, Sauvignon Blanc. But some red and rosé is produced from Pinot Noir. Everyone liked both wines.