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Posted by Robert Whitley on October 26, 2014 at 1:10 PM

For the Love of Sancerre

Sometime over the past year I stumbled across a Sancerre that proved addicting, making me fall in love all over again with this beautiful wine from France's Loire Valley.

The producer is Roger Naudet & Fils and the wine is Domaine des Buissonnes. The current vintage I am drinking (I just purchased a new case) is 2013 and it retails for an average price of $23 according to Wine-Searcher.com.

Like many of you who are enthusiastic consumers of Sauvignon Blanc, my taste runs the gamut. When in Bordeaux I enjoy the richness and warmth and the fresh white peach aroma of top-notch Graves and Pessac-Leognan blanc. At home I savor the freshness and complexity of Sauvignons from Sonoma County, particularly the Russian River Valley. And in general I am a huge fan of the pungent Sauvignons from New Zealand's Marlborough region, especially when feasting on freshly shucked oysters or steamed clams.

Sancerre has seemed to take a back seat in the face of all the worldwide Sauvignon competition in recent years. The reasons are many, but mostly rooted in the fact that Sancerre producers tend to be small operations and even when imported to the U.S. by a major player, America is a huge market and there is only so much Sancerre to go around.

I discovered Domaine des Buissonnes at one of my favorite neighbrhood restaurants, Brooklyn Girl, owned and operated by my friends Michael and Victoria McGeath. Michael is a true wine aficionado. He's been in the restaurant business close to four decades and he makes the wine-buying decisions at Brooklyn Girl, which also has a small wine shop for off-premise sales.

Buissonnes is a beautifully balanced, elegant Sancerre that delivers succulent citrus aromas, with inviting minerality and mouth-watering, juicy acidity. By today's standards the alcohol by volume is low at 12.5 percent, so you can drink more than a glass with lunch and go back to work.

But, more than anything, it reminds me of all that I loved about Sancerre when I discovered it as a young journalist in New York in the early 1970s. I'm still big on other styles of Sauvignon, but I'm finally back to Sancerre and enjoying every last drop of my latest purchase.

Losada, Bierzo (Spain) 2011 ($23, Classical Wines from Spain)
Bierzo may lack the name recognition of Rioja, but its wines can be equally memorable.  The Mencía grape, historically known for making dilute wines from over cropped vines, can make stunning wines, such as this one, when the vines are planted on the rocky hillsides in this northwestern region of Spain.  Losada’s Bierzo combines black fruit flavors with deep minerality to produce a wine with power, persistence and harmonizing gracefulness.  An alluring subtle bitterness in the finish means that if you pair this wine with a steak tonight, you’ll be very happy.
90 Michael Apstein

Dr. Michael
This Issue's Reviews
Our Varietal Obsession
Paul Lukacs

Wine drinkers have become obsessed with grape varieties. Most consumers identify and ultimately select wines primarily on the basis of varietal identity. And while the world is awash in literally thousands of different varieties, only a small handful produce consistently first-rate wines in an array of different locales. Sometimes irresponsibly derided as 'international,' these are the world's top varieties, the grapes that make a disproportionately large number of the world's finest wines. Perhaps surprisingly, the preoccupation with grape varieties is a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the 1960s, even the most devoted connoisseurs paid little attention to the type of grapes that went into the wines they loved.
Ice is Nice: The Effect of Glaciers on Wines We Know
Wayne Belding

One of the most profound influences on many of the winegrowing regions we revere today is the direct and indirect action of glaciers. Winegrowing regions at high latitudes often exist because the local microclimate is warmed by a large body of water, either a lake or river. In a multitude of instances, glaciers are the reason for those impacts. Our world has been locked in ice for most of the past two million years. When measured against a human's lifespan, that's a long time but it represents only 0.0004 percent of the earth's 4.5 billion year history. If you compressed the earth's history to the span of a single day, two million years is equivalent to the last 35 seconds of that span. Thus, the glacial activity of the most recent epoch (the Pleistocene, in geologic parlance) is very recent in geologic timescale terms.
Wine With
WINE WITH…Slow-Roasted Pork with Coconut and Jalapeño

'We've got a recipe we think would be a good contender for Wine With,' Lisa had emailed earlier in the week. She sent us the recipe so that we could think about wine selections, and a few days later she and Charles arrived at our house bearing their crock pot. Mouthwatering whiffs of the fragrant Caribbean inspired dinner wafted from the pot even before the lid was opened. With its pungent spicy-hot elements balanced by sweet tropical coconut flavors, the slow-cooked, meltingly tender pork roast was indeed both an inspired and challenging dish to pair with wine.
On My Table
A Cabernet Franc Winner on Long Island
Mary Ewing-Mulligan

Long Island's beginning as a wine region occurred forty years ago, but the region today is still a very young one. Grape growers and winemakers continue to experiment with grape varieties, vineyard location and winemaking styles. Most wineries produce a wide range of white and red wines, continuing to learn about their vineyards while also hedging their bets against unpredictable weather that could devastate one grape or another in any given year. One Long Island winery that is currently enjoying its time of glory is Macari Vineyards, a family-owned winery founded in 1995. This summer, Macari earned the distinction of being named New York State Winery of the Year at the NY Wine & Food Classic, a tasting competition of 800-plus wines from across the state's viticultural areas. Moreover, the 2010 Macari Cabernet Franc was named by the competition's judges as the Best Red Wine of the show.