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Sébastien Riffault

Sébastien Riffault

It’s Sauvignon Blanc Jim …..but not as we know it.

If you seek a traditional sleek, linear Sancerre with aromas and flavours of vivid gooseberry, peach and minerals this wine is not going to be for you. If however, you seek a wine which enchants you with its idiosyncratic tics, provides a counterpoint to regional typicity and sends you to a beautifully geeky corner of the space/wine continuum, you should be pretty chuffed to have some of this light, golden-hued nectar in your glass.

Hands On

Sébastien Riffault farms his 2 hectares of vines according to organic/biodynamic principles at Sury-en-Vaux overlooking the town of Sancerre and makes his wines nearby at his father, Etienne Riffault’s winery just outside of the village. The steeply sloped vineyard lies with a South/South-West aspect on limestone/clay soils over a flinty base. Vineyards plowed by horse, tiny yields, late harvested by hand, often with a touch of botrytis but fermented dry, extended skin contact, wild yeast ferment, fermented in an oxidative style in open-top vats, very low sulphur regime, extended time on lees and aging in large, seasoned oak….you get the picture….it ain’t gunna taste like your typical Sancerre.
The wine names, with the exception of Les Quarterons, all have a distinctly “un-Gallic” lilt, thanks to Sébastien’s Lithuanian wife, Jurete. All reflect aspects of the terroir or the wine’s nature. Akmèniné (made of stones), Skeveldra (a fragment of stone, in this case the famous Silex found through the vineyard), Auksinis (golden), Saulétas (sunny), Raudonas (red, for Sébastien’s Pinot Noir cuvée) and of course, the original estate name and lieu-dit, Les Quarterons. Beautiful, living wines from one of the Loire Valley’s most exciting producers.

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