La Damnee Des Prieur Sancerre 19

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The eastern-most part of the Loire Valley is a mosaic of landscape that just happens to be ideally suited for white wine production. Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé were especially favored by the happy occurrence of a geological accident locally known as the "Sancerre Fault."

The fault produced a trio of terroir in the hilly landscape of the eastern Loire Valley -- Terres Blanches, white, chalky clay also known as Kimmeridgian Marl, Silex, featuring a high percentage of flint, and Oxfordian limestones which feature layers of pebbles and gravel.

Each of these soil structures contributes a distinctive character and nuance to the Sauvignon Blanc grown in the region. Kimmeridgian soil yields wines with rounder fruit that takes a front seat to the minerality while imparting assertive acidity. Silex soils produce the most mineral-driven wines, featuring a flinty minerality that envelope the fruit. Lastly, Sauvignon Blanc, grown in Oxfordian clay, yields rich and perfumed wines but with more delicate minerality.

The Prieur family has grown Sauvignon Blanc sustainably in some of the region's most prestigious terroirs, including Bouffants, Chavignol, Chêne Marchand, Coinches, Perriers, and Monts-Damnés. The formidably steep slopes of their Les Monts Damnés vineyards earned the name from the grower's disdain for working on 'those damned slopes.'

Today, tenth-generation vignerons Thierry and Bruno Prieur produce textbook Sancerre from their 30 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc. They consider La Damnée to be their best bottling, and I enthusiastically concur!

Fruit for La Damnée is sourced from the family's best plots, featuring the unique characteristics of the three main soil types. The wine is tank fermented and rests on lees for eight months to further protect the nuance of each terroir.

After a quick swirl and sniff, you'll know you have classic Sancerre in your glass. Layers of lemon, pink grapefruit, peach, and gooseberry swim seamlessly along with the gorgeous hit of flinty minerals. The balance between the ripe fruit and crisp acidity is stunning and lengthy, leaving you longing for another sip. This is drinking like a charm now; however, no need to hurry since it will develop nicely for at least the next few years. Pair with white-fleshed fish, shellfish, and goat cheese.

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