Follow the Buyer! Ben Wood
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Ben's Bio

Buyer for: Loire, Beaujolais, Languedoc-Roussillon, New York State wines, World wines.

Ben began his wine training in the fine dining world working at several restaurants in our nationís capitol and completed a American Sommelier Association 24 week viticulture and Vinification course. After several years of traveling the wine world, which included harvests in Beaujolais and Alsace, Ben accepted a position at New York Cityís Astor Wine and Spirits. Working in the internet department, Ben continued learning about wine as well as the ins and outs of retail. A stint at Brooklyn's Thirst followed, where he developed a passion for organic and biodynamic wines. Now at 67Wine, Ben is the buyer for the wines of Beaujolais, Langeudoc Roussion, Half Bottles, Loire and world - a section he defines as "wines from places we don't think make wine." Ben's other life is as a musician, where he leads the band Franglais, a Gypsy jazz band, and also plays guitar for several other Gypsy and jazz projects.

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Sébastien Riffault is one of only a very few certified organic winemakers in the Sancerre world. His wines are among the most interesting being made today: Bright, crisp, lemony, saline, and yet with only the barest hint of grassy notes.

Domaine Etienne et Sébastien Riffault Les Quarterons Sancerre

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Why I Bought ThisFood Pairing

From a region full of manipulated, corporate wines and junk juice comes the brilliant, natural, certified organic and unique wines of Sébastien Riffault. This domaine, founded in 2004, is trying to change what is possible in the region. He makes several interesting wines, some of them bordering on the challenging, in order to show what he feels are the best characters of his terroir. Les Quarterons Sancerre is the most approachable wine in the range. Steel fermented and filtered lightly with a little dose of sulfur only at bottling, it's almost a classic. There are several factors in how this wine is made that really make it unique: It is produced from organic grapes, grown in hand-worked vineyards that are plowed with a horse and are not treated with herbicides or pesticides, and the grapes are harvested in late October. All of this creates a brilliantly individual wine with a really tasty set of flavors.

I love Sancerre. It is overall the best Sauvignon Blanc region in the world producing crisp, fresh wines with mineral intensity combined with fruit and herbal notes. However there are a lot of mediocre overpriced wines from the region that rely on the Sauvignon Blanc grape's inherently powerful aromatics. That is certainly not the case with Domaine Etienne et Sébastien Riffault Les Quarterons Sancerre, which has a richness, intensity and wildness. I really knew we had to stock it when Sébastien came to visit the store. Tasting and talking with this passionate artisan about how he creates his remarkable wines was truly inspiring. He insists on organic certification and uses natural yeast fermentation and very low or no sulfur. After meeting him and tasting his wines, I knew that this wine is a perfect fit for our selection of Sancerre. And I'm sure it will become a perfect fit for your table as well!

You canít go wrong pairing a wine with the kind of food that would be served in the area where the wine is made. In the Loire, this would be seafood, cheese and salads. In that spirit, I recommend getting your hands on some Crottin de Chavignol. This classic tangy goat cheese is easy and crisp when young, but after spending some time in a cave, it becomes, creamy, nutty and wild. Aged Crottin is the perfect companion for this wild, rich Sancerre. Have it with good bread and some greensóa perfect Loire valley meal.

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