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shawnfinewine

Domaine du Nozay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, Loire Valley 2020

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With a broad, flinty mineral core of palate-staining intensity, this cuvee positively bristles with energy, a testament to its supremely healthy biodynamically wrought grapes of origin. The fruit here stops well short of overt Sauvignon Blanc gooseberry, offering notes of lime zest, muskmelon, and salty peach on a bright but not squeaky-sterile frame. It’s refreshing to encounter a Sancerre that shows excellent typicity yet speaks more of the rocks beneath the soil than the fruit suspended above it.

With a fascinating “micro” terroir reminiscent of Chablis and a bloodline that runs straight to Burgundy’s Romanée-Conti, Domaine du Nozay is one of the most exciting estates in Sancerre. Cyril de Benoist runs the operation with boundless enthusiasm and effusive intelligence. In fact, he is a nephew of the legendary Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée Conti, so perhaps that visionary spirit runs in his bloodstream.

The fifteen-hectare estate lies at the northernmost extreme of the appellation, and this wine has more in common with its mineral-driven Chablis neighbors than to its fruity Sancerre siblings.

This Sancerre is a lesson in the primacy of terroir. It is a wine that has as much soil identity as ‘varietal’ identity. One can’t deny the gorgeous under-ripe peach, salty lime zest and a palate-awakening burst of green apple acidity, but that’s where the “fruit” ends. Otherwise, this bottle is all about crushed rocks—shattered limestone and a brilliant bone-dry finish.