Sébastien Riffault, 2014 Update

I am delighted to have become acquainted with the wines of Sébastien Riffault over the last few years. I always enjoy stopping of to taste his wines, for several reasons. The first reason is Sébastien himself; he is a joyful character, full of fun and energy, who tends to bounce from side to side as he talks. It can make finding him in my viewfinder for a photograph a little challenging at times, but when I do eventually manage to hold him in the frame for more than a few milliseconds at least I am guaranteed that he will be wearing a smile. Secondly, the wines are distinctively different; in a line up of Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire Valley, there is no mistaking the wines of Sebastien Riffault. They are bold, rich in flavour, distinctive in their firm oxidative nature, and full of the sorts of complex character that can sometimes be missing from Sauvignon Blanc.

Sébastien Riffault

In fact, so distinctive are the wines, and so pedantic are the INAO about these sorts of things, sometimes I wonder how the wines still carry the Sancerre appellations, especially when I have encountered so many other vignerons (Richard Leroy and Frédéric Niger, among others) whose wines have been refused the agrément for what seem like relatively minor deviations of style, so minor I usually can’t see what the problem is. But perhaps I should not worry about such things; to me, it matters not whether a wine has a grand appellation, a not-so-grand appellation (if I was bothered by that I wouldn’t be spending half my tasting time in the Loire Valley, would I?) or indeed no appellation at all. It’s what’s in the bottle that counts, and I adore many wines that have nothing more than a Vin de France designation.

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