A Standout Under-$20 Sancerre
I am on the constant search for excellent $20 Sancerre because I know it is something that our valued clients are looking for. After tasting through literally dozens of Sancerre wines, I finally found a $20 Sancerre I’m willing to hang my hat on — this 2016 Michel Vattan Cuvée Calcaire. A perfect combination of a very good vintage, chalk soils, meticulously managed vineyards of 45-year-old Sauvignon Blanc vines farmed to organic specifications, and sensitive winemaking all results in a classic Sancerre that was so superb. It is everything I want in a good Sancerre — classic lip smacking crisp, fresh white from chalk soils, with lemon, green apple, and mineral, oyster shell complexity. I purchased the entire U.S. allocation so that I could offer it at $19.99 per bottle.
The limestone-rich soils of the tiny hamlet of Maimbray, just 4 miles up the road from Sancerre, proved fertile ground for the Loire’s excellent 2016 vintage, which Wine Spectator says yielded “concentrated grapes and good aromatic expression.” The 2016 Michel Vattan Cuvée Calcaire Sancerre allows the harvest’s intensity to flourish in an alluring melange of mineral complexity and crisp, nuanced fruit. It’s Sancerre as the Loire Valley intended.
As the family-owned vineyard has expanded from 5 acres in 1930 to today’s 22, the Vattans’ commitment to careful, eco-friendly viticultural practices that honor the estate’s chalky hillside caillottes and terres blanches remain unchanged.
Matt Deller MW