Last enjoyed in August 2006, this tasting confirmed how much we enjoy this appellation, with the top wines exhibiting excellent balance of bright acidity, great textures, and complex aromas and fruit.
While two of the bottles received no points, we found lots of diversity here, with some wines needing food to express themselves fully, and at least one that we would prefer to enjoy on its own.
One bottling was repeated, with the younger one showing brilliantly, while the older vintage was a strong disappointment.
First Place: Domaine Girard Sancerre La Garenne 2013. Aromatic, with scents of gooseberry, grass/hay, mandarin orange, bergamot, chalk/wet pebbles, and a marine note. Joyce felt that it "smells like sunshine". Has lots of body, but plenty of acidity, with flavors of green apple Jolly Rancher, cranberries, and brown sugar. Complex and interesting, this reminded Josephine of "Chanel #19". Elegant and with good length, showing excellent texture. Josephine found it to be "architectural". Everyone except for Andy and Joyce gave this their top rating, for a total of 32 points. Josephine's bottle. About $25.
Second Place: CÚlestin Blondeau Sancerre 2014 Moulins Bales. Tasters found complex scents of squash, mushrooms, oysters, root vegetables, cantaloupe, milk products, tomato, celery, sage/oregano, Meyer lemon citrus, and grass. Ali was reminded of a "meaty stew". A touch of effervescence in this one, and offering flavors of freesia, herbs, and sandalwood. Something dark here, but still refreshing. Good finish and great body. Received 28 points. Ali's bottle. About $20.
Third Place: Domaine Merlin-Cherrier Sancerre 2013. Grassy on the nose, with a hint of cat's pee, plus orange blossom, pebbles, honeydew, nectarine/white peach, green apple, and tomato leaf. Friendly and happy, with easygoing bright acidity. Like tasting a grassy meadow, some sort of fresh herb, lemon rind, and caramel/honey. Ali found it to be "golden on the finish". Everyone's third favorite, for a total of 18 points. Andy's bottle. About $28.
Domaine Roger Neveu Sancerre Clos des Bouffants 2012. Notions of cat pee, cantaloupe, key lime, and golden raisins on the nose. Intriguing. Andy felt that it "smells like a Cialis commercial", and was "like taking a bath in a field". Josephine was reminded of galbanum, "for the green, fresh, powdery note", while David said, "name the green thing, and it's in there". Kristin felt that it was "a little one-dimensional on the palate", with Ali saying it was "all yellow to me". Tasted of tart apple, limes, and lemongrass. The brightness led Ali to say that it "crescendos on the finish so hard it hurts my mouth". Everyone gave this a point, for a total of 6. Kristin's bottle. About $28.
Maison de La Colline Sancerre La Craie Old Vines 2013. Scents of crushed rocks, petroleum, Irish Spring, bitter citrus pith, dust, Ajax, brown paper, and gooseberry. Falls a bit flat in the mouth, with not as much brightness, plus more cleanser on the finish. No points. Joyce's bottle. About $18.
CÚlestin Blondeau Sancerre 2011 Moulins Bales. A product of poor storage or perhaps slightly corked, this exhibited aromas of wet book, mildew, dog, cinnamon, tree bark, cocoa power, peaches, dust, petroleum, and honey. Kristin was reminded of a "scratch and sniff book with gingerbread cookie", while Josephine felt is was reminiscent of "a fuel leak in the basement". Really strange, with Kristin finding it "off-putting", and Josephine noting that it "kind of dies on your tongue". No points. David's bottle. About $20.