2022 Domaine Jean-Paul Balland, Sancerre AOC
2022 Domaine Jean-Paul Balland, Sancerre AOC

2022 Domaine Jean-Paul Balland, Sancerre AOC

Loire Valley, France 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$40.00

2022 Domaine Jean-Paul Balland, Sancerre AOC

 For a small collection of hamlets in the far eastern Loire Valley, Sancerre really does offer an astounding range of styles and options. We recently offered a super crisp, bone dry rosé and a seriously complex rouge (Pinot Noir), but to kick off June I wanted a textbook blanc, aka the world’s most famous, and arguably the best, expression of Sauvignon Blanc. And it turns out that Domaine Jean-Paul Balland checked off every box. This is the type of pitch-perfect Sancerre that any Parisian bistro worth a visit should have on the glass list year round–chalk full of zesty citrus; a perfectly balanced, medium-weight texture; precise, persistent, but never aggressive acidity; and of course there’s boatloads of salty, oyster shell minerals. In short, the new generation of siblings now running the show at Domaine Balland has created a masterclass on the brilliance of Sancerre. You’ll want this beauty around all summer, fall and into the new year!

Jean-Paul and Magali Balland both come from generations of farmers and winemakers that have worked the vineyards in and around Sancerre for centuries. After they married they were able to combine several inherited parcels to form their own domaine, which today consists of 20 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and four of Pinot Noir. Though they’re both still very much involved in the vision of their estate, Jean-Paul and Magali have both been officially retired for several years and it is their daughters who are fully at the helm. Isabelle, with her degree in oenology, is the winemaker and her sister Elise handles sales and marketing. After training with Jean-Paul for several years Isabelle’s husband Julien now manages all the vineyards, and while they have been practicing organic viticulture for close to two decades, they finally received official certification last year.

The winery and vineyards are located almost entirely in the commune of Bué, which is about a mile west of the village of Sancerre. Though the eponymous village gives this world famous wine region its name, many of the best and most acclaimed producers and vineyards reside in the villages of Bué and its neighbor to the north, Chavignol. The AOC Sancerre Blanc from Jean-Paul Balland is sourced from a wide collection of parcels, but the geology is consistently dominated by terres blanches (limestone/clay marl), and caillotes (pure, pebbly limestone). This lends an old-school elegance to the wine, and accentuates the crunchy fruit and complex minerals over the overt smoke and cut grass of more modern styles.

The cellar work is gentle and serves to shine a light on the pure transfer of terroir. The fruit undergoes a slow, delicate press before fermentation with native yeasts in temperature controlled steel tanks. The wine is aged for several months on the fine lees and then bottled at peak freshness after a light filtration process. Serve this beacon of classicism with a nice chill in an all-purpose stem and the shimmering straw gold hue with hints of translucent green will almost immediately blossom into youthful notes of grapefruit, green apple, green peach, white flowers, wet grass, green herbs, lime/lemon zest, crushed chalk, and oyster shells. This textbook Sancerre is bone-dry with high acidity and medium to medium-plus body. The fruits on the palate confirm the nose with flavors of white grapefruit, green peach, lime zest, wet herbs, and a “chalky” limestone minerality. In the summer it’s perfect with any type of salad, soft goat cheeses, chilled seafood (oysters, hello!), or spicy noodles. But like all great Sancerre it has tons of versatility and will take you well into the fall and holidays too!

2022 Domaine Jean-Paul Balland, Sancerre AOC

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