February 24, 2007

2003 Domaine Merieau Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine, Loire Valley, France

We have reviewed the more prominent Sauvignon Blancs of the Loire before, the wines of Sancerre and Pouilly Fume here on winecommando. Together these represent a spectrum of Sauvignon Blanc wine making style in this region. There are others, though, that offer both the quality and characteristics of these wines, but at a better value. We picked up this Loire Valley wine for $14.00, which is an excellent value. What makes this wine distinct is that it is aged on the lees, meaning that it is left to age for a time with the materials that collect at the bottom of the vat. These materials are the dead yeasts and residual yeasts that occur during the wine making process, and this process, called sur lies in French, adds a quality to wine that can be pretty incredible. In the case of this Sauvignon Blanc, it softens greatly the sharpness of the citrus and grapefruit flavors and adds a creamy, yeasty component. This is the difference between a Sauvignon Blanc that is an excellent apertif wine, and one that is a great food wine. This Domaine Merieau is great with food, having more depth, complexity and structure than is typical. The nose is full of fragrant lavender, honey and hints of grapefruit. The palate is round with pear and sharp green apple, balanced by the softness of honeydew melon. The finish is rich and lush, which we find fairly unique as compared to the majority of French Sauvignon Blanc. The minerally qualities are still there, as is the tradition of the soil of the Loire, but they are part of a bigger picture in this wine. This bottle was a very pleasant surprise and more of it will find its way into our cellar for the summer.

cost - $14.00

winecommando rating (1-10) - 9

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