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Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon BlancLoire Valley, France 2020 (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon Blanc Loire Valley, France 2020 (750mL)


If you don’t know the name Pierre Ménard, it’s time to place your ear closer to the ground. In just a few vintages, this shot-out-of-a-cannon mastermind has soared into the elite tier of contemporary French wine, and today, his micro-cuvées are some of the Loire Valley’s hottest, rarest, most exciting biodynamic wines. And I do mean “micro” in the truest sense of the word: From four hectares of old vines, he makes at least 10 cuvées, only half of which slip into America.

So, a white wine from Anjou…that’s gotta be Chenin Blanc, right? Not today. Pierre Ménard’s family is blessed with several old-vine parcels and one vineyard in particular, Clos de la Roche (not to be confused with Burgundy’s Grand Cru), contains a sliver of Sauvignon Blanc rooted in rocky schist soil. It was planted in 1958, a year after the Soviet Union shuttled a dog named Laika into space. Note: Do not read up on this space story if you’re a dog lover.

While Chenin Blanc is the most planted white grape in Anjou today, this Sauvignon Blanc makes a strong case that both can coexist at a grand level. The fruit was harvested by hand and fermentation and aging occurred in a combination of used French barrels, sandstone amphora, and steel tanks. This is an intensely aromatic, deeply textured, and lifted wine that surges with acidity and exotic fruit flavors before culminating with an explosion of pulverized rock. It’s in a beautiful drinking window, one I anticipate will stay open for another 2-3 years. 

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionLoire Valley
  • Sub-RegionAnjou
  • SoilSchist
  • FarmingBiodynamic
  • BlendSauvignon Blanc
  • Alcohol13%
  • OakPartially in Used French Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 50° F
  • GlasswareAll-Purpose Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2026
  • DecantingOptional

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