Holy Ground: 2012 Boulay Sancerre Comtesse

Posted by Ian McFadden

Sauvignon Blanc Holy Ground
2012 Boulay Sancerre Comtesse
Sancerre for spring . . . and decades beyond

Boulay's Sancerre super-cuvée "Comtesse" is a simply outrageous expression of Sauvignon Blanc.

It's one of the expressions of Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc that we return to again and again. For us, Comtesse is one of the great ageable examples of the grape.

With spring seeming like it's finally starting to take hold, this seem like an apt time to offer Boulay's 2012 Comtesse. While this will make for beautiful drinking throughout the warm months, this is most definitely a Sancerre for the cellar, too. We've had bottles with 15+ years of age on it that have been utterly captivating. A 1989 Boulay remains the most memorable bottle of Sancerre that I've drunk.

We put Boulay right up there with Vatan and Cotat in the Sancerre canon. It's not just that they're all neighbors on those same famed soils of Chavignol. All of them represent Sancerre at a very elevated level. And for us, Boulay offers a level of youthful drinkability that separates him from his more extreme peers.

When it comes to Sancerre, Chavignol is a very special place. Chavignol is absolutely defined by its terroir: Kimmeridgian marl (the same soil as parts of Chablis) that imbues the wine with Chablis-like minerality. Boulay's Comtesse comes from a choice old-vine parcel in one of Chavignol's greatest vineyards, Les Monts Damnés ("damned hills",) so-named for their incredibly steep gradient.

In 2012, Comtesse is pristine, all satin and bright citrus wrapped in chalky-white mineralty. The purity of fruit is simply mesmerizing. This is one of the most vivid and detailed versions we've tasted, yet there's still plenty of stuffing and length to the wine. It has the steely backbone made for long-term cellaring.

With age, these wines cease to be Sauvignon Blanc, and instead, become resolutely Chavignol. The mineral signature is that serious, and it only deepens, revealing more concentration, more complexity.

Only a few barrels of Comtesse are made each year, somewhere around 200 cases total. If you've been following Boulay year in and year out, or for anyone looking to celebrate the spring with some real firework wine, this is an offer not to be missed.

To order, reply to offers@crushwineco.com l or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits