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Bertin-Delatte Sautillant 2016

Bertin-Delatte Sautillant 2016

Consider this today’s Weekend Wine report an antidote to last week’s detour into Champagne with the Grand Siècle from Laurent-Perrier. We are back on home turf here, in Anjou, with a wine no less pétillant but certainly less pricy. And as with a few stars of my Weekend Wine slot during recent months, such as the stunning 2016 Le Clos des Mailles from Pierre Menard, this is another domaine upon which I have not previously cast the spotlight. Even focusing on just one or two regions, as I do, there seems to be no end to the domaines still waiting to be ‘discovered’.

Bertin-Delatte is a tiny domaine, established in 2008 and run by Geneviève Delatte and Nicolas Bertin. Both Geneviève and Nicolas started out working for other vignerons including Pierre Chauvin, but they took the leap in 2008 with the purchase of 1.5 hectares near Rablay-sur-Layon, a village that is also home to Richard Leroy. Their principal vineyard, the lieu-dit L’Échalier, is located on the western periphery of the village. In 2012 they built a small house as well as some cellars overlooking their vines, and expanded their domaine slightly, taking control of a few other parcels of vines close to the village. This remains the set up today.

Bertin-Delatte Sautillant 2016

The domaine is run according to organic principles, and the fruit from this very manageable portfolio of vineyards picked by hand. In the cellars the approach is certainly minimalist, with no chaptalisation, no use of cultured yeasts, and no other interventions, save for a light filtration and a sensible addition of a small dose of sulphites before bottling. They make a small range of wines, some of which I will be writing up in the not-too-distant future, but for today I am focusing on one of the domaine’s sparkling wines.

Sautillant is a méthode ancestrale cuvée bottled as a Vin de France. It is an unorthodox blend of approximately half Chenin Blanc and half Sauvignon Blanc. The vintage is not declared on the label, but we probably don’t need to call upon Hercule Poirot to help us track down the meaning of the lot number L.S16. It is sealed with a crown cap, which when popped off reveals a wine of a pale straw-coloured hue, with a rather gentle bead at its heart. This is followed by a very attractive nose, in a very reserved style, filled with the scents of crushed chalk and white flower petals, backed up by little twists of citrus and orchard fruits. The palate, meanwhile, has some real punch to it, the Sauvignon coming through, with streaks of citrus zest and apple-skin fruits nestled here in a quite charming texture, and all wrapped up in fabulous acidity, along with mineral veins and a fresh mousse. Overall this is a wine of elegant poise, with a pure, fresh and remarkably focused character. If it is anything to judge by, I think I am going to enjoy getting to grips with the wines of Geneviève and Nicolas. 93/100 (18/3/19)

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