I remember tasting the Sancerre of Claude Riffault
many years back and while they were good, even very good, I would not have called them exceptional. Today, having just tasted two different examples from the domaine, I can comfortably confirm that Stephane Riffault, Claude’s son is making exceptional wines. Frankly, I was blown away by the quality on show… it far exceeded my expectations.
‘Make no mistake: this address in the hamlet of Maison Salle (Sury-en-Vaux) is now one of the five or six most exciting estates in the Sancerre appellation.
’ David Schildknecht, robertparker.com
‘(Domaine) Claude Riffault is a shining star in Sancerre, producing suave, texturally intriguing, seemingly effortless wines.
’ Rebecca Gibb MW, vinous.com
About Domaine Claude Riffault
The estate is based in the village of Sury-En-Vaux, which is situated around 5 kilometres outside Sancerre itself – overall they have approximately 13 hectares of vines but spread across 4 different villages, and over 30 individual parcels. The domaine practices biodynamic viticulture and has been certified biodynamic since 2017, eschewing all chemical pesticides and herbicides in the vineyard. All of these parcels are vinified separately, with careful use of oak, which is not even a footnote in the resultant style. The wines speak of their origins – subtle differences are clearly revealed between bottlings, all of which are incredibly expressive. Perhaps this relates to Stephane’s training in Burgundy, but the focus is on bringing out the best from each site. The wines are wonderfully pure and have plenty of energy and tension, despite on the whole coming from south-facing sites. The word that kept occurring in my tasting note was ‘chiselled’ – these are so well crafted and bear no representation to the Sancerre of yesteryear. They have a superb texture too, which relates to the extensive lees-ageing that is practised at the domaine. Frankly, I don’t believe Sancerre gets much better than this and these 2022s are wholeheartedly endorsed.
Please see below for fellow Master of Wine, Rebecca Gibb’s notes as well as my own. Rebecca covers the Loire Valley for vinous.com