What a discovery… luckily we were well established some 30 months ago, because Stéphane Riffault is now being hailed as the Raveneau of the Loire.
After finishing his studies in Beaune 15 years ago, Stéphane Riffault has slowly taken over the reins of the estate in Sury-en-Vaux that still bears his father's name. His brother Benoit never made it back to the Loire, but instead married and now runs Domaine Sauzet in Puligny-Montrachet, which potentially helps to explain the Burgundian approach to winemaking here. His father made just one wine, a Sancerre, which was very simply made. Stéphane now makes five or more each vintage and most are fermented largely in smaller casks or barrels, of which some 10% are new. Contrary to some of his colleagues, he abhors malolactic conversions, which he believes have a negative impact on the character of Sauvignon Blanc. His vineyards have been organically farmed since 2016, in order to keep an intent focus on quality. For similar reasons, Stéphane Riffault generally produces about 80,000 bottles a year. Sury-en-Vaux is to the north of the Sancerre appellation and domain Claude Riffault spans 15.3 hectares, covering 10 lieux-dits. The majority of the vineyard is planted with Sauvignon Blanc (10.5 hectares), along with 3 hectares of Pinot Noir. The domain has transcended all expectations in these past years, and their cuvées are becoming more and more sought after.