Some wines are worthy of a promotion

4 mins read

By Celia Strong

Yep. Wines do get promotions. 

Not new job titles, exactly, but new upgraded legal designations. Which means they’re doing a good job and deserve to be recognized. And, surprise, sell for a higher price.

France was the first European country to recognize the value that quality controls would give to their wine industry. In 1935, they established their “Appellation d’Origine Controllée” laws. Federal laws with exact specifications for each region. And even for individual towns and vineyard sites in some cases. 

These laws regulated grape varieties, growing practices, bottle shapes, label information and more. Plus below this top AOC (or AC) level, there are several lesser tiers with less strict regulations. In 2003, a wine from the tier below AOC, known as VDQS, got a promotion. This wine was Sauvignon de Saint-Bris.

Saint-Bris is a village. It is located in the northern part of the Burgundy region, just south of the town of Chablis. Traditionally, Sauvignon Blanc was not considered to be a top quality grape for the Burgundy region. Its white wines had to be Chardonnay. 

Traditionally, Sauvignon Blanc was not thought to be suited for Burgundy’s soil and climate. And, traditions in French wine regions are tough. If a variety or technique or whatever is not traditional, it can be almost impossible for a wine to be approved for an upgrade. Saint-Bris wines, though, made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, got past some rigid Burgundy traditions and got their promotion.

Simonnet-Febvre is a producer based in Chablis. Founded in 1840, they are known for their high quality Chablis wines. Today, they are a satellite of the well-known Louis Latour company. 

Their Saint-Bris is made from grapes grown in limestone and clay soil. On vines with an average age of 25 years. These soils encourage the Sauvignon Blanc grapes to show their full range of aromas, flavors and minerality.

The vineyards for these grapes in Saint-Bris are cooler, which lets the grapes ripen slowly. And develop more intense flavors for the finished wines. Fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks at temperatures from 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. After, the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for six to eight months. And malolactic fermentation is done 100%. 

There are less than 150 acres growing grapes for this wine. Which is not much!

The finished wine is a pale, golden color. With some light green highlights. It has intense aromas that include tropical and exotic fruits (peaches, mangos, starfruit, kumquats), subtle lemons and grapefruits, notes of white flowers, a bit of fresh green grass, light thyme and chive nuances. And flavors that echo all these aromas. Plus more. 

All with a great structure, and fresh acidity. A great apéritif wine, perfect with salads, shellfish, seafood, light cream sauces, cheeses, cold roast chicken, gravlax, and on and on. 

Yum! Drink the promotion. For $14.99 at Bill’s Liquors. Enjoy. 

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