2020 Claude Riffault Sancerre “Les Boucauds", Loire Valley, France

Concentrated and powerful with a focused core. It's chalky and all sinew on the almost chewy, lengthy finish, giving it line and energy. The scent of almond croissant from barrel fermentation and lees time lingers alongside apple fruit.



Sourced from several plots all situated in the lieu-dit of Les Boucauds, this cuvée employs close to 50% of the Sauvignon Blanc planted on the estate. Entirely from terres blanches soils – marls and clays over Kimmeridgian limestone – this wine represents a pure expression of this site as well as the deft winemaking of Stéphane Riffault.

Hand harvested, natural yeast fermentation in stainless steel (50%) and French oak barrels (50%). Aged 7-8 months in stainless steel tank and neutral French oak barrels, vegan.


At barely 30 years old, Stéphane Riffault (Claude’s son and now the owner of the estate) is turning out Sancerre bottlings that are the envy of many producers twice his age. As David Schildknecht put it, “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.” Given that Stephane’s holdings represent 4 tenths of 1 percent of the appellation, this kid is clearly doing something right.

Based in the village of Sury-en-Vaux, the Stéphane Riffault works 33 different parcels in 8 different lieu-dits spread across 4 villages. The 13.5 hectares of vines are plowed, and no synthetic material is used and starting in 2017, the property has been certified organic by ECOCERT and biodynamic by BIODYVIN. Unlike most Sancerre producers, the entire harvest is carried out by hand, and extensive sorting occurs before the grapes are crushed. Stéphane’s wife, Benedicte, leads the harvest team while Stéphane manages the sorting and press during harvest.

Most of the domaine’s holdings are planted on the soft limestone soil called Terres Blanches with some parcels on Calliottes and Silex. Small, judicious uses of oak help to add length to the already precise, site-expressive, and vertical bottlings. All of the parcels are vinified separately, and with the exception of the rosé, all the wines are bottled unfiltered.

Having studied and worked in Burgundy (and closely with Olivier Leflaive), it’s easy to see the Burgundian influence in Stéphane’s wines. The mastery of minerality standing shoulder–height with the wood is rarely duplicated in Sancerre. Regardless of his parcels’ exposition (many are south-facing), Riffault’s wines are always crisp and high-cut with a jeweled sort of delineation that speaks to the precision and attention these wines get. These are not your daddy’s (or his daddy, Claude’s) Sancerres.


Grape(s) Sauvignon Blanc
Farming Biodynamic