LCBO Sale Pick of the Week: July 9

Henri Bourgeois 2013 Les Baronnes Sancerre (Loire Valley, France)

Sale $22.95, Regular $24.95
Discount (until July 19): $2.00
LCBO (Vintages) # 542548 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: A zingy citrus salad — lots of grapefruit and lip-smacking herbaceous tones tempered by a delightful creaminess. Pow!
Pairs with: Asparagus risotto, herb quiche, lemon-grilled chicken.
Good for: Hot summer fun in your finest linen shorts.
Alcohol: 12.5%
Drink: Now.

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Why we're drinking this
There’s Sauvignon Blanc and then there’s Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley in central France. Big difference. The Loire is where the grape achieves a level of expression and elegance that is not found elsewhere, and this is because of a confluence of factors that include the cooler northerly climate, chalky soils and winemaking traditions that leave the grape pretty much alone (that is, unmanipulated or tarted up). Not to mention that ethereal notion of “terroir” — where winemaking philosophy meets the unique and hyper-local aspects of soil, sun and grape. The Henri Bourgeois is very much a product of the chalky-clay soils from the hills of Chavignol, where this example is grown (also known for stellar goat’s milk cheese). All this to say: even if you think you don’t like Sauvignon Blanc, give this one a try. You might be surprised.

Tasting note
The thing about Sancerre — versus the stuff from, say, New Zealand, California or even Canada — is the remarkable restraint on the nose. It’s not that grassy “pong” you may be used to in SB. It’s a perfumed, elegant waft of grapefruit peel, lemon curd and fresh hay. It’s gentle, rather than forceful. We like to say “finesse.” This wine is a solid example of what Sancerre is capable of, with that classic, gentle citrus (grapefruit/lemon) essence lifted by a bracing acidity, which makes it perfect on a warm summer’s day and great with all kinds of food. The Henri Bourgeois is an LCBO mainstay, but not often on sale. This is a great time to pick it up and give it a go.

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