A Sommeliers’ Best Kept Secret
The reason we trek the world’s wine trails, knock on cellar doors, and attend every tasting we can is to find the diamonds in the rough. Plenty of small producers haven’t devoted the resources necessary to tell the world about their exceptional bottles. So when we discovered the 2015 Chaumeau-Balland Sancerre at a recent annual tasting of one of San Francisco’s major importers, we got to work. Our hard work pays off for our fellow lovers of mineral Sancerre in this textbook Wine Access cellar-stuffer, offering off-the-charts quality for a humble price.
We weren’t the only ones gobsmacked by its ripe grapefruit, gooseberry, and high-toned mineral cut. There was a crowd of the Bay Area’s elite sommeliers around us, all raving to one another about what this small producer had achieved, arguing about perfect pairings. We instantly recognized this 2015 Chaumeau-Balland as a clinic in classic Sancerre.
The 2015 growing season in Sancerre was one of the finest in recent memory. It was smooth sailing through the end of August, without any hurdles. In Bué-en-Sancerre, the call to harvest came at the beginning of September, one of the earliest on record. At Chaumeau Balland, the stainless-steel aging and extended lees contact employed by the Chaumeau family preserved freshness and lent complexity to their Sauvignon Blanc, which had ripened to positively perfect maturity. In short, a blockbuster harvest highlighted by tried and true techniques resulted in a Sancerre classic.