Exogyra Virgula! What sounds like an exceptional name also is an exceptional wine. And what could be bigger of an exception than Sauvignon Blanc from Chablis? Well, technically speaking it isn’t Chablis, but rather the small appelation Saint-Bris which lies just next to Chablis and has probably been created for the sole purpose to allow Sauvignon Blanc within this Chardonnay reigned area.
So what is it with this name that sounds like it could be a Harry Potter magic spell? (see this). The answer is simple. The name is llinked to the Terroir: Exogyra Virgula is a type of oyster that is fossilized within the Kimmeridgian grounds of Chablis and lends it its distinctive chalk flavour (or at least: thats the link build in our minds). One can already tell from these website-informations alone, that Domaine Goisot takes things seriously. Not only does the estate practice organic and biodynamic winemaking, but they also seem to put a lot of thought and effort into details. It starts with a more dense grafting of the vines and ends with use of finest French Allier barrels.
But enough talking. Let’s fill a glass! At first, the wine is still a bit too cold which leads to a numb nose. But just a minute later the real first impression is made and it is intense: the nose is of exotic fruit, mostly reminding fresh cut passion fruit. As it opens up, the typical chalk of Chablis joins in, except that this ain’t Chablis or Chardonnay, but a Sauvignon Blanc grown on the same type of soil.
On the palate the impression couldn’t be more different: the wine is bone-dry and grasps your tongue with a tight mineral core and laser-like acidity! What a dramatic contrast between the exotic fruit perfumes and the dry minerality! But despite this dry impression, there is some exotic fruit here as well, it’s just understated and subtle:this ain’t Cloudy Bay! Talking texture-wise though, this subtle passion fruit runs down your palate in a viscous stream.
Chalk notes grow stronger as the bottles empties and the mineral feel now reveals a salty edge. At the same time, the typical grass notes of Sauvignon Blanc are also appaering, both in the nose and on the palate. The wine is now complete and catches all your attention. The finish isn’t one of a blockbuster wine but the impression of chalk and salty minerality linger on. Also there is a slight rough edge to the finish, promising further aging potential. Wow, I’m quite overwhelmed with this wine!
This is a wine that proves Sauvignon Blanc can still be interesting despite it’s global abundancy. A true Terroir varietal – at least in France (and I know also in some regions of Austria). This wine is showtime for your palate! And what’s also great about it: it only costs about 12 Euro! So I urge you to have a try – please let me know what you think.
PS: Just stumbled upon an excerpt from French Revue des Vins:
Saint-Bris Exogyra Virgula 2008 16/20. Le plus exotique, très ananas, doté d’une matière pure en bouche qui exprime le croquant frais du raisin. C’est une gourmandise et un vrai vin blanc de caractère. Un Grand petit vin. Un des meilleurs sauvignons de ce guide, et de France
Update January 27, 2011:
Forgot to link up Didier’s post on Vimpressioniste about the 2007 vintage. Check it out.