Thomas-Labille's Sancerres are some of the finest produced in the region. Most years, I'm lucky to get a case or two of the Mont Damnés bottling and 5 cases of the L'Authentique. This year, I begged and pleaded with my distributor, and not only did I get a decent allocation, I'm offering both up at really good prices.
Even better, the 2020 vintage produced wonderful, classic wines that showcase why Sancerre is one of the best white wine production zones in the world. The Thomas-Labaille wines enjoy a strong following at Table Wine. Thus, act fast or forever hold your peace. These will be be gone in no time.
Thomas Labaille’s L’Authentique Sancerre is a wine that never lets me down. Whenever I drink a bottle, I am quickly reminded why Sancerre produces one of the greatest expressions of Sauvignon Blanc on the planet.
2020 Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol L’Authentique
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You can search your entire life, but you won’t find a better sub-$25 Sancerre out there. Please note, this is very different than the Mont Damnés. Not better or worse, just different. Whereas Mont Damnés is full, fleshy, and exotic, this is pure, racy, and classic. Produced from younger vines planted on the Kimmeridgian limestone soils of Chavignol, this one is fermented and aged in cement and stainless steel.
The resulting wine is a live-wire Sauvignon Blanc with a ton of personality. You can certainly smell the terroir in this wine – those classic aromas of talc and chalk let you know immediately that this wine comes from the famed Kimmeridgian soils of Chavignol. But it doesn’t stop there. Abundant top notes of basil, mint, kiwi, lime, and grapefruit lead into a vivacious palate of lively citrus, lemongrass, green herb, and citrus zest.
The estate's Monts Damnés bottling is very limited -- we only got 36 bottles this year. All I can say is one sniff and sip of this and you know you’re drinking the good stuff! The old and steep slopes of Monts Damnés, Sancerre’s greatest vineyard site, yield a wine of substance, weight, and power.
2020 Thomas-Labaille Sancerre Chavignol ‘Monts Damnés’
Jean-Paul Labaille, son-in-law to founder Claude Thomas, farms his 30 to 80+ year old vines without the use of machines or chemicals. He ferments with native yeasts in fiberglass and cement tanks and ages the wine on its lees for in stainless steel and used barrels for 6 months. The wine is bottled without filtration.
Golden in color, the bouquet here is intensely perfumed with notes of lime pith, white flowers, chalk, and a deeper note of honeydew melon. On the palate, it just gets better! Broad, rich, and pliant yet vibrant and energetic, it exhibits fine notes of ripe citrus, melon, kiwi, white peach, and smoky mineral. I know it will sound strange, but I highly recommend drinking this old-school, traditional Sancerre out of a big glass and NOT TOO COLD.
For Sancerre lovers, these are both dreamy wines with a lot to offer and love. I wish I could get more, but these are both wines with serious cult followings nationwide. It’s first come, first served here folks. Don’t wait or you will be disappointed.
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Table Wine Asheville