Premox in Loire SB (yes, you can age a few)

So there’s been tons of conversation about premox in white Burgundy since 1996, and fair amount about white Bordeaux. Some discussion about Alsace, and at least some about particular Chenin Blanc producers (Closel,Huet, Chidaine) in at least certain vintages. But I haven’t seen any discussion about Loire Sauvignon Blanc. I realize the 99% is drunk young (and should be), but there are exceptions, especially in the hill of Chavignol.

For our weekly Zoom call, we did the 2010 G. Boulay “La Comtesse” Sancerre. My bottle was delicious- balanced and fine, fruit blossom nose, citrus fruit accented with chalk and smoke, nice length. I really enjoyed it. However, two of the 6 participants had clearly oxidized bottles (all from the same case). You could see the enormous difference in color on the screen. I think 2 people noted just a bit of oxidation on the finish, but still enjoyable. So last night I opened another (my wife was shocked, 2 bottles of same wine in one week?!?!) , if anything younger than previous bottle. 2 people have the wine but weren’t able to make the Zoom, I’ve reached out to them to see if they opened.

So this kind of variance reminds me of the white Burgundy crapshoot. I’ve been trying to think if I have encountered before. I know I had bottles of the 2001 Pur Sang and 2006 Vatan Clos de Neore with vastly different aging profiles, but not necessarily from same source so could have been storage. I’ve had a lot of Cotats (both) but the few I thought overmature were always from hot vintages and I chalked it up to my tastes.

So premox in Loire Sauvignon Blanc? Anyone experience this? Obviously almost all Pouilly-Fume, Quincy, Sancerre is to drink young. But I have had lots of 10-20 year old single vineyards from Chavignol producers like the Cotat cousins (and brothers before them) Vatan, Boulay and maybe Thomas-Labaille, as well as Didier Dageneau in PF.
I’m curious if anyone else has seem these mixed results than suggest random pox.

Good question, Dale,

I’ve never had aged versions of any of these except the Vatan and Dageneau, which had no problems. I am currently cellaring a bunch of Cotat (both)–when I opened one it seemed to need way more time–so I would be curious if I’ve unwittingly engaged in a risky undertaking.

My last bottle of 08 Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly was oxidized, maybe last year. Prior to that one, they had held up for 9-10 years pretty well.

Premox comes for most dry whites finished under traditional cork — we just feel the pain worse and more often with Burgundy.

I’ve had premoxed Dagueneau and, lately, Vatan ('11 and '13).

I have yet to have an older Dagueneau that was oxidised. Not a huge sample selection these days, as I buy less than I used to.

And for a timely but less well known wine, we opened a bottle of 2010 Claude Lafond Reuilly Blanc 4 days ago. When I briefly worked in distribution my company carried Claude’s wines. He was one of my favorite people to come work the market, humble, charming, and very practical. The Sauvignon Blanc is a lovely wine young that is inexpensive($15 in 2010) and kind of easy to overlook it’s potential.

The bottle we opened was dynamite, pure underripe peaches. Perfect for a summer evening and my preference over a really lovely bottle of Chablis from a benchmark producer.

With the heat of 2011, do you think that this will be a vintage where the wines simply do not age as well? Sulfur efficacy is greatly enhanced by lower pH and most 2011 wines that I have sampled have lacked acidity(for my preferences).

I don’t know, the wine is still pretty tangy and was so tightly wound and phenolic after bottling that is was hard to drink… my purely speculative explanation would be to wonder if, after Edmond handed over to his daughter, they went over to a bottling line and that maybe resulted in some dissolved oxygen issues?.. But I truly have no idea.

Timely post, Dale, since we have a '13 Boulay Monts Damnés on deck for tonight. First time I have heard about pre-mox in Loire SB, though I have heard of the issue in Loire CB. I haven’t experienced either. (Damn, now I may have jinxed myself!)

Hi Dale, I have unfortunately experienced a number of premox-ed bottles in Loire Valley whites ranging from Boulay, Francois Cotat and Dagueneau on the Sauvignon front and a seemingly higher rate from Huet and Chidaine on the Chenin front. And just like you, no rhyme or reason, stored the under the same conditions and some bottles are perfect while others are poxed. It’s aggravating but stings a little less than for a grand cru white burg :wink:. Cheers and I hope all is well on your side of the Hudson.

I was at the Zoom and thoroughly enjoyed the wine. But for the premox problems of the others, I would have bought some.

It’s so unfortunate. I have really loved Vatan and Dagueneau for a long time, and both have provided benchmark wines for me. I don’t begrudge either producer their prices, but they both fall into a range that is cost prohibitive to perform at anything less than tremendous, much less undrinkable.

I had a 2012 Mellot Sancerre Satellite that was pre-mox. I had to dump it.

I’ve had problems with a few bottles of ‘06 Vatan, but not other vintages. William Kelley’s comments above motivate me to open bottles of ‘11 and ‘13. Fingers crossed.

We drink a lot of Boulay in our house - I just checked CT, and between the CdB, La Côte, Mont Damnes and Comtesse, I’ve got 65 notes out there on a total of 26 wines/vintages. The only time I ever had a problem was the same wine Dale referenced - in May of 2017, I had a 2010 Comtesse that struck me as premoxed. Interestingly enough, I had it the same day that a Mont Damnes from the same vintage came across as quite primary.

Most recently, I had a 2009 CdB from magnum that was very good, but at least according to notes on CT, that has also been a problematic bottle, so maybe I have just been lucky.

As a mate of mine just said to me " Most other major white producing regions must secretly be thrilled White Burg attracts 99% of the attention regarding prem-ox when it affects them all".

Opened a 2011 Mellot Edmond not too long ago that was totally premoxed.

Premox is not my experience in Loire SB. I wouldn’t throw up the premox flag without a good amount of data. Could be bad or inconsistent corks leading to early oxidation in select wines. That’s always happened everywhere but that’s not premox.

It’s also true IME that hot vintage SB doesn’t age particularly gracefully so that should be factored in as well. Fast aging is not premox either.

Completely agree, Jayson. As you know, I think the premox flag is thrown too often.

That is premox.