Domaine Denizot 'Damocles' Côte de L'Epee Sancerre AOC 2018

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Domaine Denizot 'Damocles' Côte de L'Epee Sancerre AOC 2018
Country France
Region Loire Valley
Appellation/Sub-Region Sancerre AOC
Grapes Sauvignon Blanc
Vineyard/Cellar Practices Organically Grown, Vegan

Thibauld and Jennifer Denizot create excellent expressions of the unique terroirs of the Sancerre area. Based in the village of Verdigny, with family holdings that date to the 18th century, the Denizot domaine is known for their stellar single-vineyard releases from the well-known lieux-dits of the Côte de l'Épée and Les Bouffants, representing the two ends of the Sancerre spectrum: one site yields lean and precise wines and the other produces more textural whites. Denizot’s “Damocles” cuvée is entirely sourced from the lieu-dit Côte de l'Épée (hillside of the sword), located in the village of Amigny, on a breathtaking 40-degree incline. The south-southeast exposition coupled with the intense steepness provides excellent air drainage, which allows more gradual ripening. Soils are composed of limestone pebbles called caillottes, imbuing the wine with a fine focus, detail, and crystalline nature.

Fermentation and aging takes place in a mix of barrels: classic 600 liter demi-muids and uncommon 350 liter cigare barrels (narrow, elongated barrels to maximize lees surface area), which are selected for their low-impact oak profile and extremely fine grain. Aging takes place in the same barrels for approximately 12 months before being racked into stainless steel for an additional 6 months. In the glass, “Damocles” conveys the severity of its terroir: the steepness of the l'Épée slope and limestone freshness. There is a chiseled minerality, lip-smacking acidity, and ripe stone fruit. Now with some time in the bottle, the umami from the lees aging begins to appear, adding another element of complexity. This is an outstanding bottle and one to be savored.