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Situated in the heart of the village of Sury-En-Vaux, some 5km from Sancerre, lies Domaine Raimbault-Pineau. Their home estate sits in an excellent plot of Cretaceous and Jurassic era soils with excellent exposure. Three types of soils dominate the region; Caillottes, which are calcareous and rocky. These soils enable fruitiness. Terres Blanches or “White Earth” is argilo-calcareous soils of clay and fossilized sea shells. This soil promotes intensity and complexity. Finally, Silex is flinty soil, very hard siliceous sedimentary rock. This gives the wines a smokiness.

 

For 13 generations, Sonia Raimbault’s family has grown grapes and made wines in the region of Sancerre, beginning with Denis Raimbault in 1610.  Presently, she is the head of operations, supported by her children. Each of them influence the Domaine and the wines in their own way, offering a blend of tradition and modernity.

 

Their holdings  are in Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume, Coteaux-du-Giennois, and Menetou Salon.

Sancerre is one of the most famous regions of the Loire Valley, and often considered the greatest place on earth for Sauvignon Blanc. With just under 3000 hectares in 14 muicipalities, it is not a huge area, nor is the production terribly complex in terms of grape varieties. Only two grapes are grown; Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Whites, Reds, and Roses are all made, but the region is dominated by whites. Raimbault-Pineau’s Sancerre Vineyard sits on hills, with ideal exposure, soils, and protection from extremes winds and weather.

 

The region of Coteaux-du-Giennois sits between the towns of Gien and Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, almost due south of Paris, north of Sancerre, and on the furthest eastern extreme of the region of the Loire Valley. Just minutes to the east begins Burgundy. Similar to Sancerre, the only white is Sauvignon. For reds, both Pinot Noir and Gamay are permitted by law, with the caveat that neither of the two red grapes can be more than 80% of the blend.

 

Pouilly-Fume is the area around Pouilly-sur-Loire. Only Sauvignon Blanc is grown in this region at the easternmost edge of the Loire Valley wine region.The appellation extends from Mesves-sur-Loire, through Pouilly-Sur-Loire, and on to Saint-Martinsur-Nohain. It is a small region of 1320 hectares covering 7 municipalities. Soils tend to be clay-limestone.

 

Sancerre Blanc

 

From 100% Sauvignon Blanc, the Sancerres from Raimbault-Pineau tend to be less bawdy, more refreshing and zesty. The grapes are harvested at optimum ripeness, the gently pressed using pneumatics. Fermentation is slow and temperature controlled. The wine is left on the lees to develop creaminess and roundness. While the mouthfeel is ample, the complexity here comes from acid, citrus, lime, grapefruit, fresh herbs, and of course rocky, flinty, soil. Sushi with avocado, green asparagus with a lemony hollandaise, or anything with tomatillos are ideal.

 

 

 

 

 

Coteaux du Giennois Blanc

 

This is from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. While not unlike Sancerre in many ways, and grown only a stone’s throw away (40km), this tends to be a bit lighter, mineral-driven, with pronounced fruit led by green apples, lime zest, herbs, and white flowers. Some time on the lees adds a bit of creamy weight. Aging is carried out in steel tanks. This is an elegant bargain for lovers of sauvignon blanc. It’s perfect as an aperitif, great with starter salads, and lovely with asparagus.

 

Lucien Raimbault Exception Pouilly-Fume

 

Sauvignon Blanc is the only grape permitted in this small region. Citrus-driven, with green apples, green pears, and of course the light smokiness, this is a very fresh wine. With all of this and moderate lees aging, the resulting wine is sophisticated, as well as refreshing. Sushi, oysters, haddock, as well as garlicky chicken salad are all good mates.

 

 

 

 

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