Fournier’s 2014 Cuvée Silex is named for a 6 acre vineyard parcel comprised of prime silex soil, a mixture of flint, clay, limestone, and silica. This is a soil combination found only on a few choice hillsides in France’s Loire Valley. The 2014 Fournier Cuvée Silex is a special Sancerre that hails from an outstanding vintage and prime silex soil. The latter imparts mineral-rich qualities to the wine that define the wine’s amplifying bouquet, which is full of floral notes, flint and a complex array of herbs. In the mouth the 2014 Cuvée Silex explodes, 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 flabby flavors appear in this wine. While lovers of full throttle Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc 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, far longer than any other Sancerre we have tasted. At 8 years of age the 2007 Cuvée Silex was just reaching its apogee and was positively thrilling. After three or four years in bottle the wine reveals even broader fruit flavors and takes 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, you should find the 2014 Fournier Cuvée Silex to be a class act. We suggest serving this complex stylish Sancerre moderately chilled (40° F). Santé!
For decades Sancerre has been the rage in Paris bistros and upscale American seafood restaurants, with the prevailing sentiment that “Sancerre is made for seafood.” It’s hard to argue with the sentiment, as there is not a better wine to pair with seafood than Sancerre. A plate of oysters on the half shell and a dish brimming with fresh mussels steamed in a heady broth make superb accompaniments to the 2014 Fournier Cuvée Silex Sancerre. Better still, who can resist the 2014 Cuvée Silex with Pan Roasted Sea Scallops, served with an artfully 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 once swam in the sea provides an ideal complement to Fournier’s 2014 Cuvée Silex Sancerre. Another splendid companion to 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. Yet, why not ask for more? After all, Fournier’s 2014 Cuvée Silex is wine for more than seafood. It pairs beautifully with sweetbreads, country pâtés and most cheeses; and it can easily stand on its own as an aperitif. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest saving a glass of Fournier’s 2014 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 Sancerre 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, the 2014 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 a Grande Reserve and a simple but delicious Les Belles Vignes, which made the Wine Spectator Top 100 List in 2016. The Fourniers have acquired prime properties in nearby Pouilly-Fumé and Menetou-Salon as well, 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 Sancerre estate has grown to nearly 70 acres, with additional prime vineyards scattered throughout the Loire Valley. From each of Fournier’s 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 constitute the only two 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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