I only recently learned of the small Loire Valley appellation known as Menetou-Salon which sits nearby to its more famous sister Sancerre.
Widely regarded as the best producer in the appellation, Domaine Henry Pelle was also one of the first, at least in modern winemaking history. A classic, family-run operation of 15 people, Pelle has been operating for over three generations in the Menetou-Salon, well before it was granted appellation status in 1959.
The Domaine has 75 organically farmed acres in and around the tiny town of Menetou-Salon. Here, the soil is incredibly calciferous, made up of millions of fossilized oyster shells from the ancient shallow sea that once covered France. This soil gives rise to the brilliant crisp flavors of the region's white grapes, and in particular Sauvignon Blancs like this one.
Cellar master Julien Zernott gravity presses all of his white wines, ferments them naturally with yeasts from the vineyard, and ages them "on the lees" (with all the grape pulp and seeds mixed in).
Pelle makes several Sauvignon Blancs at various price points. This is his premiere bottling from a single vineyard known as Clos des Blanchais.
Light gold with a tinge of green in the glass this wine has a steely nose of paraffin, crushed limestone, and lime zest. In the mouth it is bright with acidity, with primary flavors of minerals and mixed citrus zest, and a nice mouthfeel that carries through to a clean and refreshing finish.
This wine cries out for oysters and other fresh seafoods. I recently paired it at a wine dinner with a light crab soup with fresh crab, oysters, and sea urchin.
Overall Score: 9
How Much?: $24
This wine is somewhat scarce, but can be found online.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Danilo Nada of Nada Fiorenzo Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/23 Vinography Images: Night Sorting Small is Beautiful: The Champagnes of Savart I'll Drink to That: Karl duHoffmann of Anchor Brewing Warm Up: Jerez de la Frontera I'll Drink to That: Antonio Flores of González Byass California 2015 - Vintage of Fire Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 8/16 A Selection of Georgian Wines
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune