Silex, in Latin refers to any hard rock, commonly flint. It is also the name of one of my favourite white wines. Didier Dagueneau was frequently quoted as determined to produce the ‘best Sauvignon Blancs in the world’. He harnessed the clay and flint based soils of the Loire valley, producing light wines with sophisticated minerality and delicate floral quality. As my first taste of a wine from this region, it has taken me several years to come to terms with the fact that this wine is not representative of all Sancerre wines. In fact I have experienced more one-dimensional herbaceous sharp flavours than enjoyable ones from this appellation, where only two grape varieties are permitted to grow (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir).
Finally though, I have discovered another Sancerre gem, and this one is significantly lower-priced. Domaine Delaporte Monts Damnes rivals the complexity of Silex with aromatic floral notes and that stony mineral quality created by planting 50% of vines in flint soil and 50% in terres blanches. I would say that this is one has a slightly creamier finish to Silex’s freshness, a bit more wood than chalk. Either way, with this second producer, I am definitely keeping Sancerre in my favourite wine regions list.