Fournier’s 2012 Cuvée Silex is named for a 6 acre vineyard parcel comprised of prime silex soil, a mixture of flint, clay, limestone, and silica found primarily on a few choice hillsides in France’s Loire Valley. The 2012 Fournier Cuvée Silex is a special cuvée, indeed, as silex soil imparts mineral-rich qualities to the wine, which offers an amplifying bouquet full of floral notes, flint and other mineral-rich tones. In the mouth, the 2012 Cuvée Silex explodes with pinpoint precision, delivering an ideal blend of fresh Sauvignon Blanc fruit and crisp mineral-driven flavors. Cuvée Silex is truly Sauvignon Blanc for those who love their Sauvignon Blanc bold and beautiful. No light, wimpy flavors make an appearance in this wine. While lovers of full-throttle Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc in general will delight in drinking Cuvée Silex in its youth, others may prefer to cellar this rare Sancerre for several more years. Cuvée Silex has the propensity to age gracefully and far longer than any other Sancerre we have tasted. A recent 2007 Cuvée Silex we opened was just reaching its apogee and was positively thrilling. It seems that after three or four years in bottle the wine begins to reveal broader fruit flavors and take on even greater complexity and depth of flavor. It sheds one delightful persona for another. So as you like it, depending upon whether you prefer youthful ardor to mature love. But whether young or old, we think you will find the 2012 Fournier Cuvée Silex to be a class act. We suggest serving this complex, stylish Sancerre moderately chilled (40° F). Santé!
For more than a decade, Sancerre has been the rage in Paris bistros and upscale American seafood restaurants, with the prevailing sentiment that “Sancerre is made for seafood.” And we would not argue with the sentiment, as there is not a better wine in our opinion to pair with seafood, and shellfish in particular, than Sancerre. Two of our favorite pairings with a glass or two of Sancerre are a plate of oysters on the half shell and a dish brimming with clean, fresh mussels steamed in a heady broth. Better still, who can resist the 2012 Fournier Cuvée Silex Sancerre with Pan Roasted Sea Scallops, served with a light, deftly prepared saffron risotto, baby carrots, and sautéed spinach; Steamed New Zealand Green Lipped Oysters, prepared with tomato, fennel, and crème fraîche; or just plain old-fashioned smoked salmon, served with capers, red onion, and cream cheese? In fact, just about any creature that swims or crawls in the sea provides the ideal complement to Fournier’s full-throttle 2012 Cuvée Silex Sancerre. Another splendid companion to Fournier’s Cuvée Silex is a plate of Alaskan king crab legs accompanied by a dish of drawn butter. In the presence of such wine and seafood, some may be tempted to re-think their definition of paradise. We did. Yet, why not ask for more? After all, Fournier’s 2012 Cuvée Silex is more than just a wine for seafood. It pairs beautifully with sweetbreads, country pâtés and most crusted cheeses; and it can easily stand on its own as an aperitif. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest saving a glass of Fournier’s 2012 Cuvée Silex to sip with Sancerre’s regional cheese: Crottin de Chavignol – the combo is not to be missed. Bon Appétit!
« Le vin réjouit le coeur de l’homme. » (“Wine makes glad the heart of man”.)
The Fournier family are long time growers and producers of Sancerre, France’s iconic Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley appellation that imparts its name to the wine. And, like many of the best growers in Sancerre, the Fourniers have expanded their holdings in the region over the past half century to include vineyard parcels with the most outstanding terroir. From these parcels they craft several exceptional wines, including this month’s feature, Cuvée Silex.
In addition to producing Cuvée Silex, considered by critics to be one of Sancerre’s finest cuvées, the Fourniers fashion several other superb Sancerre wines, including the simple but delicious Les Belles Vignes. The Fourniers have acquired prime properties in nearby Pouilly-Fumé and Menetou-Salon as well, the two other prime Loire Valley appellations renowned for excellent Sauvignon Blanc, where they have established an enviable track record for fashioning exceptional wines from that grape. Begun in 1950 with just over 10 acres in Sancerre, the Fournier Père et Fils estate has grown to nearly 70 acres. In each of these three great Sauvignon Blanc appellations, the emphasis is always on quality and producing France’s finest Sauvignon Blanc. Cuvée Silex is Fournier’s ultimate Sancerre, and the rarest. It hails from a small vineyard of stony mineral-rich soil known as silex.
Sancerre is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for wines produced in fourteen villages near the town of Sancerre. This appellation lies to the southeast of Orléans, along the upper reaches of the Loire River. Sancerre is considered by many to be the spiritual home of Sauvignon Blanc, as the appellation’s greatest claim to fame lies in the production of crisp, elegant, eminently drinkable white wines made exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The chalky, limestone-rich soil of Sancerre is ideal for the cultivation of Sauvignon Blanc. Consequently, white Sancerre was one of the first wines to be awarded appellation status by the French government in 1936.
As if the crafting of some of the world’s purest, most enjoyable white wine is not sufficient acclaim, Sancerre also fashions very fine dry rosé from Pinot Noir and light, aromatic red Pinot Noir that rivals the village wines of Burgundy. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the only legal grape varieties permitted in Sancerre.
Crottin de Chavignol, the Loire Valley’s finest goat cheese, is also made in Sancerre. It was awarded its own appellation status in 1976. It ranks among the finest cheeses of France and it pairs beautifully with Sancerre’s incomparable Sauvignon Blanc.
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