Drawn off 70-year-old vines, brilliant yellow, with pale-green hues, it is infused with crisp, high-toned aromas of green apple, lemon rind, and pithy pear, tinged with ginger.
Four years ago, Etienne Daulny and his enologist brother Bertrand turned out Stephen Tanzer’s highest-rated Sancerre in four years, earning a glowing review and a rare 92-point score in the International Wine Cellar.
Last June, we returned to the minuscule hamlet of Chaudoux and once again knocked on the most revered cellar door in town. As has been the case every summer since 1996, Etienne welcomed us in.
That afternoon tasting was one of the more unforgettable of the last couple of years. While most people drink their Sancerre young, the Daulny brothers craft magnificently mineral Sauvignon Blancs that, depending upon the vintage, age gracefully for over three decades!
We began with Tanzer’s top-rated 2010. Then we worked our way back in Loire Valley time. The terrifically phenolic 2008 was golden in color, racy, and almost briny, just beginning to show off its beeswax core. The 2005 was highly structured and still wound-up, not yet ready to shed its youthful tension. The 2002 is a classic. Rich and luscious. Despite the size of the harvest, acids, as always chez Daulny, remain firm, arguing gracefully for another decade of cellar slumber.
The 1999 Daulny Sancerre is still a baby in a cradle. Ditto on the stellar 1994. But it wouldn’t be for another hour, when Bertrand uncorked the shocking 1984 — a vintage that was decried on release — that we once again discovered the utter genius of Sancerre’s most renowned fraternal wine-growing team. Still green-gold in hue, boasting mouthwatering aromas of apple, quince, and honeysuckle, the attack is pure bitter honey ladled over high-tension pear/quince compote, finishing with terrific acidity and persistence. We took half a bottle back to the B&B with us and drained the bottle at 10pm. The wine hadn’t missed a beat.
We would taste the 2014 next, which was an incredible wine and ranked among our best under-$20 mineral-driven whites of last year. WineAccess members snatched up every bottle of our 100-case allocation.
Before calling it a day, Etienne led us to his tank room. We were so exhausted, we weren’t sure we wanted to taste one more, even as he handed us glasses of 2015 he poured from a spigot. But we knew in a flash that Daulny’s 2015 might even outshine the 2014. No wonder: The 2015 growing season in Sancerre had been one of the finest in recent memory. A warm, dry spring gave way to a hot and sunny summer and it was smooth sailing clear through the end of August, without any of the usual hurdles (hail, mildew, etc.) the Sancerrois face in more challenging years.
Last week, the 2015s reached our shores, and WineAccess HQ. We tasted and compared our notes to the tank tasting in Sancerre. The 2015 Domaine Daulny Sancerre Le Clos de Chaudenay rises to the level of the juiciest and most seductive Sancerres we’ve tried, and ranks among Etienne and Bertrand’s best. We’re going on the record as saying this has to be the front-runner for the #1 under-$20 mineral white of the year!
Drawn off 70-year-old vines, brilliant yellow, with pale-green hues, it is infused with crisp, high-toned aromas of green apple, lemon rind, and pithy pear, tinged with ginger. Complex and bracing, juicy on the attack, filled with ripe apple, pear, and grapefruit, and a wonderfully high-toned salty mineral finish, accompanied by all the tension and persistence you’d expect in a beautiful Sancerre. Drink now or, like all great vintages of this old-vine Sancerre, lay it down for another decade or more.
$34 on release. Just $19.99 per bottle. Delivers on all the promises 2015 has to offer. Only 100 cases of this STUNNING old-vine Sancerre are up for grabs. Recommended CASE-BUY.
Very nice Sancerre. Drank beautifully. Not too astringent, not too fruity. What a good French Sancerre should be like. Excellent value.
On the west side of the major N-S fault that goes right thru Sancerre, the wines from Verdigny have that luscious taste and fragrance that the Jurassic limestone soils offer wherever they appear. Etienne Daulny has some other famous producer neighbors according to the map so it's no surprise that his wines express the terroir and his talent as winegrower so well. Love the 2015's from Sancerre, and for that matter the rest of downstream Loire too.
Good selection enjoyed by several.
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