Sébastien Riffault "Skeveldra" Sancerre, 2015
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Riffault’s wines are unique in the Sancerre world, but a strong reflection and true test of his vineyards and soil. Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc is known for its intense minerality, crisp texture and citrus quality. His Sancerre wines are not like the mainstream ones, but none the less delicious, while showcasing his 12 hectares near Sury-en-Vaux. Sébastien Riffault, son of winemaker Etienne Riffault, began his own label in 2002. The big difference between him and the rest of Sancerre is his belief in biodiversity and biodynamic principals and natural winemaking. These principals are rare to find in Sancerre where many vines and wines are made with chemicals and manipulation.
The Vineyard: An array of plants, flowers and grass are planted in his vineyards to increase biodiversity and encourage good insects. He uses horse to plow, so the soil is carefully tilled and in the right places, which increases the amount and variety of life in the soil. Absolutely no fertilizers or chemicals are used, and his wines are certified organic by l’intégralité du Domaine en Culture Biologique, certifiée par Bureau Veritas Certification. He is a member of The Association of Vins Naturels and The Renaissance Group of Appellations.
The Winemaking: Riffault takes the natural approach here as well. Riffault leaves his grapes on the vine extremely late in order to get them completely ripe usually affected by botrytis. The wines are fermented in large, old barrels with wild yeast (except Les Quarterons is fermented in stainless steel). In spite of the crisp, intense acidity, all of the wines undergo complete malolactic fermentation. The wines are aged on their lees. They are never chaptalized or acidified. His wines are not filtered or fined. No SO2 is added (except for minimal sulfur added to Les Quarterons at time of bottling). Wines are bottled by gravity.
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Vineyard Size: 1 hectare
Soil: flint, clay
Average Age of Vines: 50 years
Harvest: by hand
Winemaking: direct press, spontaneous fermentation in old barrels with indigenous yeasts
Aging: 24 months in old barrels
Added S02: none