Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon Blanc
Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon Blanc

Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon Blanc

Loire Valley, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$39.00
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Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon Blanc

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. 

Pierre Menard, “Laika” Sauvignon Blanc




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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