Wine Review – 2005 Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre, Loire Valley, France

sancerrelabelchotard Winery: Domaine Daniel Chotard

Bottling: 2005 Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Blanc

Importer: Kermit Lynch

Region: France

Sub-Region: Loire Valley

Estimated Retail Price: $19 – $25

Purchase Details/Tasting Source: Drank by the glass at Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar as an aperitif, with no accompanying food.  Wish I did though, see below.

Tasting Notes: Being that this was a sauvignon blanc from the Sancerre region of the Loire Valley, I was already bracing my palate for the ravaging it was going to take from the razor blades and minerals that I anticipated was going to accompany the first sip.  Upon the that first taste though, I found that it was quite the opposite.  The wine was smooth and seamless and didn’t have the nervy, lively acidic impact of a textbook Sancerre.  That was ok though, because this wine still had an enjoyability I was really digging.

It all made sense when I noticed that it was a 2005 vintage, hence some softening of acid that comes with some age.  Not a lot of age, but enough to attribute the mouthfeel to it.  The wine was firm and still had uplifting tropical fruit like grapefruit and other citrus notes.  Some mineral, herbs, a touch of flintiness and even an appealing smokiness were apparent in the mouth.  At this point I was really enjoying the wine for all its complexity.

If you’ve been a habitual drinker of New Zealand sauvignon blancs with their gooseberry and grapefruit notes or California versions that range from the oak laden fig versions to the grassy lemon notes, this one will offer a different sensory experience.  The earthy characteristics stand out more than the fruit, so take note.

Food and Conext in Which to Enjoy: As soon as I noticed the smokiness in the wine, I was wishing that I had some salmon gravlax, complete with mustard, capers, onions and dill.  My mouth was watering then with those thoughts and its starting to water again as I write this.  I think this wine paired alongside any food with just a little smokiness in it will be a sublime experience.

Winery Background: Daniel Chotard’s winery sits on slopes characterized by acient chalkey and white soils that are apparently what helps give his and many other wines from the region, their earthy, mineral like quality.  Although the winemaking in his family goes back to several generations, he manages to combine age old techniques with up-to-date technology.

He also makes a red as well as a rose, based on the pinot noir grape.  The majority of Sancerre production is white with only a small amount of pinot noir and rose made, so tracking down any red or rose might be a challenge.

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