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Feb 6, 2011 08:37 AM

Sancerre Age Question

Will a well kept bottle of Pascal Jolivet 2002 Sancerre still be good today?

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  1. Well, It won't get you sick. The grassy, grapefruity crispness of good Sancerre when fresh usually morphs into a dull mentholated wine with flabby acidity. I certainly would open it soon as there is no reason to hold it any longer. If you don't like the way it tastes, it'll sure make a decent sauce.

    1. The only Sancerre I've ever truly enjoyed with age was six or seven year old (at the time of drinking) Chavignol from the late Pierre Boulay. Otherwise, they tend (IMHO) to be best in their relative youth.

      4 Replies
      1. re: zin1953

        I have a related question, being a big fan of Sancerre. What does relative youth mean?

        If I were going out today to pick up a bottle of Sancerre, what is the oldest vintage I should consider? Also, does what you say for Sancerre also hold true for Vouvray?

        1. re: omotosando

          Sancerre is (most frequently thought of as) a white wine produced from Sauvignon blanc, and as with most *dry* Sauvignon blancs, aging is not necessarily their strong suit. (Red and rosé Sancerres exist, and are produced from Pinot Noir.) Sancerre is comprised of several different communes and/or sub-regions, the best known are (probably) Sancerre, Bué, Verdigny, and Chavignol. In my experience, Chavignol is the one that ages the most successuly, probably because of its Kimmeridgian marly soils dominated by limestone and clay -- similar to Chablis.

          Ignoring the variables of vintage -- in other words, this is a braod generalization -- I'd hesitate going more than three vintages. That is, as I write this in 2011, the youngest release is 2009 -- 2009 might be a bit too young, 2008 should be great, 2007 should be fine, and 2006 might show its age. Now then, this WILL change with vintage. A great vintage should be able to go longer; a bad vintage, less. AND there are exceptions that can age beautifully . . . perhaps as long as 10 years!

          Vouvray is a different animal altogether. It's Chenin blanc, not Sauvignon blanc, and it's not unheard of for great dry Vouvrays to easily age 10 years, and a Vouvray Moelleux can often age 25, 30, 50 years or more!

          1. re: zin1953

            Thanks. Very useful advice. The one Sancerre I have lying around is a 2009 (a Paul Thomas Chavignol) , so perhaps I'll stash it for a year.

            1. re: zin1953

              My '89 Prince Poniatowski Vouvray Molleuxs are only now hitting full stride. I have mutliple vintages of the Poniatowski estate (and Chidaine's wines since taking it over), and I've found that your observation is absolutely true. I haven't come across one bottle that was over the hill, going back to the '84s (and that was not a great year in Vouvray).

        2. Thanks for the info!

          1. I'm partial to Chavignol Sancerre as well and, especially the ones from the Cotat cousins (Pascal and/or Francois) which I enjoy a lot more with at least 6 years of age in them.

            3 Replies
            1. re: RCC

              Do you think this is worth opening with some expectations then? Or should I just open it on a random night to drink?

              1. re: dcole

                My guess is that it's lost much of its verge and vigor. Pop it whenever a light, crisp white would work (have a backup handy) and use it for cooking if there's nothing much left.

            2. Just had for Father's Day a 2008 Vatan Sancerre "Chavignol", which cost a whopping $58 (very expensive for a Sancerre) and which the wine store where I bought it was touting as "easily one of the best Sancerre of all time" and "it is THE best. So complex and heady, but still w/ all the Sauv. Blanc notes you love."

              Well, either the wine store is full of it, or 2008 is already too old because I would characterize this bottle basically as lemon water. No complexity at all, little acidity, no crispness, just flabby lemon water. Definitely not corked- just dull. It was fine for something you pick up for say $10 at the supermarket, but that's it. Very disappointing.

              3 Replies
              1. re: omotosando

                Well, all I can give you is my limited opinion . . . I've not had the 2008 Vatan, but based upon past vintages -- well, let's just say I am not the biggest lover of Vatan's Sancere.

                Some names you *might* want to look for: Domaine Thomas-Labaille (Chavignol), Domaine Jean Reverdy (Verdigny), Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy (Verdigny), Domaine Gerard Boulay (Chavignol). Each is substantially less than $58 . . . and I like the wine(s) better.

                1. re: zin1953

                  Thanks. Vatan is definitely going on my DNB list (do not buy). Just wish I hadn't cracked it open for a special occasion like Father's Day, since we were in a restaurant and I hadn't thought to bring a backup bottle (plus we would have had to pay corkage for two bottles - unfortunately, you can't send back a bottle that you brought).

                  1. re: omotosando

                    Once a while back, when my sister rejected a bottle she had brought, the server asked for a taste! When he also agreed, they laughed and conferred over the restaurant's offerings and came up with a tasty reasonably priced selection. I believe we weren't charged corkage for the rejected bottle.