Claude Riffault Sancerre Les Denisottes


Stéphane Riffault (Claude’s son and now the owner of the estate) is turning out Sancerre bottlings that are the envy of many producers twice his age. As David Schildknecht put it, “Make no mistake: this address in the hamlet of Maison Salle (Sury-en-Vaux) is now one of the five or six most exciting estates in the Sancerre appellation.” Given that Stephane’s holdings represent 4-tenths of 1 percent of the appellation, he is clearly doing something right.

Based in the village of Sury-en-Vaux, Stéphane Riffault works 33 different parcels in 8 different lieu-dits spread across four villages. The 13.5 hectares of vines are plowed, and no synthetic material is used. Starting in 2017, the property has been certified organic by ECOCERT and biodynamic by BIODYVIN.

Unlike most Sancerre producers, the entire harvest is carried out by hand, and extensive sorting occurs before the grapes are crushed. Stéphane’s wife, Benedicte, leads the harvest team while Stéphane manages the sorting and press during harvest. Most of the domaine’s holdings are planted on the soft limestone soil called terres blanches, with some parcels on calliottes and silex. Minor, judicious uses of oak help to add length to the already precise, site-expressive, and vertical bottlings. All the parcels are vinified separately, and except for the rosé, all the wines are bottled unfiltered.

Having studied and worked in Burgundy (and closely with Olivier Leflaive), it’s easy to see the Burgundian influence in Stéphane’s wines. The mastery of minerality standing shoulder–height with the wood is rarely duplicated in Sancerre. Regardless of his parcels’ exposition (many are south-facing), Riffault’s wines are always crisp and highcut with a jeweled delineation that speaks to the precision and attention these wines get. These are not your daddy’s (or his daddy, Claude’s) Sancerres. Sancerre Les Denisottes Les Denisottes comes from a lieu-dit located quite close to the domaine’s cellar. Here
the terres blanches soils are deeper and more pebbly than rocky and producing a richer style of Sancerre – one that requires a longer élevage in barrel, and released with a greater capacity to age.


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Tasting Notes from Pinto Wines 

Colour  Pale straw
Nose  Zesty and the juice of limes and lemons, chalk and limestone gravel, green herbs and a little white blossom.
Palate  Energetic and mouthwatering with lots of salted lemon, zest and an electrifying minerality. At the same time, the wine offers a great deal of finesse in the fine creaminess and silkiness of the texture.

Fact Sheet 

Size  75 cl 
Grape Variety  100% Sauvignon Blanc  
Alcohol %  13%
Style    Dry 
Estate/Producer  Stéphane Riffault
Country  France
Region  Loire-Sancerre
Vintage  2021
Vinification    Hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation in neutral 600L French oak folowing by ageing 10 months in neutral 600L 
Closure    Natural Cork
Cellaring/Ageing Potential    For a Sancerre the ageing is great 


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