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Stunning, Seriously Mineral Sancerre from "Shining Star" Claude Riffault

Stylized image of Claude Riffault Sancerre


Claude Riffault is a shining star in Sancerre, producing suave, texturally intriguing and seemingly effortless wines.

—Rebecca Gibb, MW, Vinous.com

Sury-en-Vaux is one of Sancerre’s most underrated villages. Like Chavignol, just a few kilometers south, it has hillsides rife with kimmeridgian marl — a terroir known for producing wines with extra intensity and structure, and it’s one of the reasons Chavignol is so well-regarded.

Another reason for Chavignol’s fame: it’s home to several famous names (Cotat, Vatan, and Boulay). Sury-en-Vaux is not. That’s changing, though. Stéphane Riffault is turning out great wines from Sury-en-Vaux that are looking like some of the best wines in the entire Sancerre region.

Stéphane’s story is similar to many of his peers. He inherited the domaine from his father, Claude, but not before studying oenology in Beaune. After taking over, Stéphane converted the family holdings to organic viticulture, then biodynamics. The qualitative jump in recent years has been dramatic, and critics have taken notice.

Today’s wine comes from a single site, ‘Les Boucauds,’ which has kimmeridgian marl soils. The dense, silky-fine texture of the wine is enough to turn heads, but the vivid and intense nature of the wine’s flavors, redolent of lemon, peach, salt and rocks, is pretty shocking, too. See Rebecca Gibb’s review below.

Claude Riffault, Sancerre Blanc “Les Boucauds”, 2022 $43.99
“The 2022 Les Boucauds sashays around the mouth. It is rich and rounded, possibly due to the deep clays on this clay limestone with a ripe, almost tropical aromatic profile offering melon, pear and pineapple alongside white flowers. A rather satisfying style that remains in barrel and will be blended in the summer of 2023.” Rebecca Gibb, MW, Vinous.com