Must-Try Wine of the Week: 2011 Ladoucette Comte LaFond Grand Cuvée Blanc Sancerre France

Comte Lafond bought the largest and most famous Pouilly-Fumé vineyards in France’s Loire Valley from the estate of the illegitimate daughter of king, Louis XV. Baron Patrick de Ladoucette, a descendent of Comte Lafond, who took over the estate in 1972, now owns it, and was the first to introduce Pouilly-Fumé to the American market. The estate’s sauvignon blanc wines, including Pouilly Fumé de Ladoucette, Baron L and Comte Lafond, are considered the finest examples of their type.

The Comte LaFond sauvignon blanc is sourced from estate and grower vineyards in the Sancerre Controlled Appellation area adjacent to Pouilly Fumé, famous the world over for wonderful sauvignon blanc. The vines are between 25 and 35 years old. The wine is fermented in 100 percent temperature-controlled, glass-lined, stainless steel tanks, and bottled from the tank after several months on the lees (the dead yeast and byproducts of fermentation that settle out at the bottom of the tank). The wines of the Baron de Ladoucette, including Comte LaFond, have richness built on long lees contact.

Light straw yellow in color, with green highlights, the Comte LaFond sauvignon blanc has the typical ash or gunflint aroma of the region. Additional aromas including grass, chalk, marzipan, and white floral highlights show up. On the palate, the wine is light and soft, with flavors of lemon, green apple, grass, herbs, melon, and pastry cream. Beautifully composed with a refreshing spark of acidity on the finish, it’s a delight to drink. The uniquely shaped bottle is also very cool.

Serve this wine slightly chilled with oysters, chilled Dungeness crab, or Dover sole meuniere. Comte LaFond sauvignon blanc is exported in limited amounts to the United States, but can be found for $43 at Don’t be put off by the price—this is a great, benchmark sauvignon blanc.

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