Claude Riffault Les Chasseignes Sancerre 2020
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Biodynamic, Organic
  • Dry
  • Medium Bodied
  • 750ml
  • 12.5% alc./vol

Claude Riffault Les Chasseignes Sancerre 2020

Loire Valley, France
Regular price $59.95per bottle ($719.40per case)
12 bottles per case

Mineral & Crisp

At barely 30 years old, Stéphane Riffault, Claude Riffault's son, is turning out Sancerre bottlings that are the envy of many producers twice his age. Stéphane studied in Beaune and then learned with Olivier Leflaive in Burgundy. After his time in Burgundy, the vintner went to Bordeaux, where he stayed for some years at Château Angélus, and returned to Sancerre in 2001. When his father Claude retired, Stéphane took over the winery, and converted the vineyards to organic and biodynamic. He has become one of the most sought-after producers in the region.

Les Chasseignes comes from vines just north of the village of Sury-en-Vaux, and is named for the shallow limestone soils that give the wine its tension and intense minerality. 

Racy and bright but with a power and persistence that can surprise given its subtle character. Aged on the lees for 14 months in oak, it opens with a clear, bright yet deep, intense and concentrated bouquet of crushed stones, lemon oil and a hint of fresh oak that disappears with air.

Silky, round and very elegant on the palate, this is a full-bodied, wide, intense and juicy yet pure and stimulating Sancerre with remarkable finesse and lingering salinity. The long and complex finish reveals concentration, very fine tannins and the mouthwatering taste of crushed limestones. Refreshing lime and lemon notes on the aftertaste. A gorgeous wine with chalky veins and the vibration of great terroir.

Perfect with white meats and grilled fish.

About the Winery

Claude Riffault

Stéphane Riffault, son of Claude Riffault, has become one of the most sought-after producers in the region. At barely 30 years old, his Sancerre wines have already become the envy of some of the region's most established vintners. 

Stéphane's Sancerre wines come from 33 different parcels in 8 different lieu-dits spread across 4 villages on limestone soils. Having studied and worked in Burgundy, and then trained with some of best – Olivier Leflaive (Burgundy), Château Angélus (Bordeaux), and his very own father, Claude Riffault – it’s easy to see the Burgundian influence and the master of minerality in Stéphane’s wines. 

When his father retired, Stéphane took over the winery and embarked upon a journey of viticultural transformation. Today, all 13.5 hectares are certified organic (ECOCERT, 2016) and biodynamic (BIODYVIN, 2021). The entire harvest is carried out by hand and an extensive sorting takes place before the grapes are crushed –– a testament to his craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. 

Press Reviews

Robert Parker

93 points - Stephan Reinhardt

From gravelly limestone soils and made with fruit from nearly a dozen east- and southeast-facing parcels at 275 meters in altitude, the 2020 Sancerre Les Chasseignes opens with an initially greenish, refreshing bouquet. It offers white fruit and coolish stones aromas on the elegant and moderately intense nose but gains in complexity if aerated for some days in the open bottle. Round and elegant on the palate, this full-bodied and refreshing Sancerre reveals a finely intense and concentrated texture with ripe, fleshy yellow plum notes and delicate grip from ripe tannins and aging sur lie, but it finishes with the purity and mineral freshness of an excellent Sancerre. The finish is long, dense and savory. Les Chasseignes seems to be richer and rounder than Les Denisottes and Les Chailloux yet initially lacks the tension and structure of those, which makes the alcohol more palatable. However, this is still an excellent wine. And, tasted again after 11 (!) days from the same bottle, it's even a great Sancerre. 14% stated alcohol. Natural cork. Tasted in January 2022.

Stéphane Riffault has presented another great vintage after the superb 2019s, which I still tend to prefer. But on the other hand, 2020 is still a very young vintage that developed so enormously well over days in the bottle that I won't argue against what Stéphane says: "2019 shows very well today, even better than 2020, I agree, but in few years I assume the 2020s will be the more interesting wines." 

The biggest difference between 2020 and 2019 is the level of tartaric acid in the grapes at harvest. "The 2020s are a bit higher in alcohol but lower in pH compared to 2019, and their sustainability on the palate makes me very happy. Since the 2020 alcoholic fermentations went through more dynamic, we find these tropical fruit aromas on the nose at the moment, especially in wines from limestone kimmerdigian soils, but with bottle aging the terroir will shine through much more prominently." 

Next to Stéphane's two impressive monoparcelle cuvées, which are vinified in 20-hectoliter foudres for 18 months, the Echalas was aged in three-year-old 350-liter François Frères oak barrels. It will be released as Vin de France since a part of the vineyards were declassified by the INAO and cannot be marketed under the Sancerre AOP. "After 40 years of planting vines here, this was a big disappointment for us," reports Stéphane. However, he has made a fabulous Sancerre-like wine here in 2020 that would have surely become one of the appellation's finest of the 2020 vintage if not of younger history.