Gold Medal Sancerre

Partner’s exclusive Sancerre Cuvée Caillottes is awarded a Gold Medal at the 2016 International Wine Challenge.

We have been working with the charming Riffault family at Domaine du Carroir Perrin in Sancerre for nearly two decades. Way back then, we decided to make an exclusive wine for 3D Partners from a single vineyard area within the middle part of the appellation. The vines are slightly older, planted on limestone and clay soils that are littered with small stones on the surface (called caillottes in French). It is fermented separately in small, squat tanks that allow the stirring of the lees, or solid matter, to give extra richness and mouthfeel.

Most Sancerres are in fact a blend from across the region – so ours was quite a rarity, coming as it did from a single vineyard. Very quickly, the wine became our most popular white wine amongst Partners and it remains our most popular wine to this day.

Almost every year it has won an award of some kind at the International Wine Challenge in London. We are delighted that in the 2016 challenge it has been awarded a coveted Gold Medal!

So what is it about our exclusive Sancerre Cuvée Caillottes 2015 that’s so special?

Vintage 2015 was a very special vintage because the weather was near perfect. I remember visiting the Riffaults at the end of August on our annual event to the region and tasting the almost mature Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Les Caillottes vineyard on the vine. The sun was beating down and the temperature was in the late 30s. The grapes were plump and juicy and the juice tasted sweet and succulent. They were delicious! At the same time the previous year, I recall they were rather tart and tough and clearly needed another month or so of sunshine in which to ripen.

Even though the weather was in the main hot and sunny during 2015, the nights leading up to harvest were cool which helped preserve the acidity. This is crucial for producing a balanced wine.

The judges were really impressed with our Sancerre Cuvée Caillottes 2015 and said it had:

‘Pure, highly focused aromas of hedgerow flowers, ripe melon and hints of exotic fruit lead to a palate that has a wonderful lingering taste of stone fruit that continues for minutes.’

Being such a popular and well-known wine, it is no surprise that many Sancerres are submitted to the International Wine Challenge each year. Only two actually won a Gold Medal, one of which was ours.

What is especially impressive is that ours retails in the UK for £13 a bottle (delivered to your door), whereas the other Gold Medal winner is £16 a bottle from the 2014 vintage (and no longer available) – so the Riffault’s wine offers great value as well as great quality.

We are really pleased for Pierre and Bertrand Riffault. I know that they will be typically phlegmatic about the result. They will give a gallic shrug and say that they try to produce great wine every year.

We know that after two decades of working with them, their commitment, passion and dedication remains as focused now as it was all those years ago.

Meanwhile, we look forward to sharing this utterly delicious wine with family and friends over the summer. We hope you get the opportunity to do so too!

Vine rentals are still available in this vineyard – and if you sign up quick you may be able to get your hands on the last remaining Gold Medal-winning 2015s!


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