2011 Domaine Vincent Ricard Le Bouc Touraine Sauvignon
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Winemaker Vincent Ricard A Loire Valley Mis-Shipment

Last week, we ran a story about the #1 Under-$13 White of 2012. You may have read it. You may also have been shut out prematurely. For that, we apologize -- even it wasn't our fault.

It's been almost ten years since we first met Vincent Ricard at his family's Loire Valley estate just a few miles up the road from the Chateau de Chenonceau. Ricard had already made quite a stir in Thesee-La-Romaine. In a village where growers had long been perfectly content to eke out a subsistence living, pushing yields in their Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, then selling off the tonnage for pennies to the local cooperative, young Ricard had other ideas.

In his first vintage, Ricard followed his mentor, Didier Dagueneau's lead, dropping crop and pulling leaves, finally bringing in a harvest that was roughly half the size of his neighbors. Vincent's first releases far more resembled fine Sancerre, or the similarly flint-infused Sauvignons of Pouilly Fume than anything coming out of Thesee-La-Romaine -- something that hardly endeared the young winegrower to his neighbors. The not-so-neighborly complaint filed with the INAO claimed that Ricard's wines were "atypical" and "too rich," and thus didn't merit Appellation Controlee consideration.

Ever since, we've been following Vincent's meteoric rise to the very top of the Loire Valley totem pole, a critical ascent that's drawn dozens of top sommeliers to Thesee-La-Romaine and earned Ricard 32 Michelin star Carte des Vins placements. Since 2009, at WineAccess, we've jumped every time Vincent's called, landing a series of brilliant vintages of "Trois Chenes", "?", and again last week, the most stunning white wine bargain of the year, the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc "Potine."

That offer took off like a rocket ship. At 10:30am, we asked the guy we call 'Biceps' (aka "warehouse manager") to double-check the case count. That's when we learned of the screw-up.

We checked our PO. Then the bill of lading. All was in order. But as happens more frequently than one might expect, a mistake was made on the loading dock in Thesee-La-Romaine. Two of the pallets we'd ordered were indeed the 2011 "Potine." But the other was Vincent's prized "Le Bouc," an exquisite single patch Sauvignon Blanc, drawn from a flint strewn slope at the top of the hillside, just beneath the old oak tree.

We had two choices. We could behave like most importers, repeating the words so frequently uttered by the German private in Hogan's Heroes ("I see nothing! NOTHING!"). Or we could pick up the phone, call Thesee-La-Romaine and tell Vincent Ricard that he'd mis-shipped 50 cases of his $18 "Le Bouc" for the $13 "Potine." Guess which way we went?

Vincent acknowledged his shipping mistake. He even agreed to eat the difference, charging just the "Potine" price for this marvelously amped up, apple/honey 2011 "Le Bouc." We considered his offer, then got this idea.

Domaine Ricard was paid the full price for these 50 cases of the 2011 "Le Bouc." But given the spirit of the season and the fact that so many were shut out of the 2011 "Potine" last week, today it's time for us to take one on the chin.

Tasting Notes

2011 Domaine Vincent Ricard Le Bouc Touraine Sauvignon
"Pale golden in color. Luscious aromas of ripe apple and pear, tinged with anise. Rich and juicy on the attack, marvelously Sancerre-like, showing off a delicate mix of apple, pear and honey, all bracketed by piercing Loire Valley acidity. Drink now, after a half hour in a carafe, or age for up to 4 years in a cool cellar."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

*Important Shipping Information
    • Orders will begin shipping the week of January 14, 2013.
    • You will be provided with the exact shipment date during checkout.

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