Domaine Raffaintin-Planchon, Sancerre
Domaine Raffaintin-Planchon, Sancerre

Domaine Raffaintin-Planchon, Sancerre

Loire Valley, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$38.00

Domaine Raffaintin-Planchon, Sancerre

Ahhh, Sancerre: There’s no doubt that the special terroirs found in this bucolic commune on the far Eastern edge of the Loire Valley have the magical ability to produce a wine that is universally adored all over the world. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case the Sauvignon Blanc. At their best these wines combine a crisp, energetic structure with crowd pleasing fruit and loads of mouth watering, saline minerality. Today’s discovery from the tiny domaine of Raffaintin-Planchon hits all those notes and then some: it’s like a greatest hits album for Sancerre. There’s always a lull for these iconic wines during the holidays and winter months, as stocks run low and thoughts turn to warming reds, but spring is just around the corner and this lovely and electric bottle crossed our tasting table at exactly the right time. Stock up and get ready for all the warm weather fun!

Domaine Raffaintin-Planchon has been growing grapes and making wine in Sancerre for at least five generations, and today control about 15 hectares of vines spread out over a large collection of micro parcels. When discussing vineyards in Sancerre it’s good to have a lay of the land, or in this case the terroir, of which there are three key types in this famous little region: silex, which is clay flecked with a healthy amount of flint, leading to very chiseled and age-worthy wines; terres blanches, which is Kimmeridgian limestone and clay–same stuff as you find in Chablis–that produces elegant, balanced wines with lots of oyster shell minerality; caillottes, which is essentially a limestone dominant gravel, leading to charming, fruit forward and aromatic expressions of Sancerre. The Raffaintin clan has all three, though it is the latter two that dominate, and seek to use the best of each terroir to produce their village wine. The goal is a perfect snapshot of a particular vintage and the appellation writ large. 

Jean-Claude and his wife Marie are now joined by their son Antoine, and together they farm their small (by Sancerre metrics) estate according to lutte raisonée (a.k.a. sustainable) and organic practices. After harvesting when the fruit reaches an optimal balance of sugar and acidity, the grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged on the lees for an additional four to six months before being bottled with a light filtration. Antoine is increasingly pursuing a “non-interventionist” strategy in the cellar, including reducing sulfur additions, but without sacrificing the snappy, energetic texture and refreshing drinkability that is the calling card for all great, village level Sancerre.

The 2022 vintage is lovely and forward, and the Raffaintin-Planchon is exuberant and ready to go right out of the bottle. That said, a quick splash decant wouldn’t hurt, but be sure to serve the wine cool, not ice cold, in an all-purpose stem. The pale, straw yellow color with hints of translucent green at the rim opens up with a classic nose of apricot, lemon-lime zest, fresh hay, thyme, orange blossom, and honeysuckle over layers of stone fruits, Meyer lemon, and oyster shell minerality. The bright, medium-light body makes this wine enjoyable on its own, but it really shines with a salad of citrus and goat cheese or a fresh, flakey fish like sole. Good Sancerre like this is incredibly hard to keep in stock, so be sure to grab as much as you can before it is all gone!

Domaine Raffaintin-Planchon, Sancerre

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