’02 Quincy could be a local favorite

If there was ever a wine that should fly off the shelves based on the name alone, especially south of Boston, it is Domaine Henri Bourgeois’s 2002 Quincy. Fortunately, the wine doesn’t have to rest solely on labeling; it’s delicious and well priced, too.

Quincy (pronounced kan-sea) is a small village near Sancerre in France’s Loire River Valley. Like white wine from Sancerre, the wines from Quincy are made from sauvignon blanc grapes. The region’s sandy, gravelly soil affords good drainage, which prevents the grapes from becoming waterlogged and their flavors diluted.

The wines from Quincy were so prized before World War II that the area was the second to receive AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée) status — official government recognition — after only Châteauneuf du Pape. But they were displaced by the better-known ones from Sancerre and fell out of favor. Now they are making a comeback in the marketplace as established producers, like Bourgeois, expand from their traditional base in Sancerre. Bourgeois owns no vineyards in Quincy, but, instead of buying grapes, the usual practice when a winery doesn’t own land, it is leasing the vineyard and farming it themselves. That means it still has total control over the growing process.

The weather during the 2002 growing season was perfect throughout the Loire Valley, making wines from that year some of the best in over a decade. So snatch them up while you can because the 2003s are less distinctive. The torrid heat of 2003 resulted in very ripe grapes and correspondingly lower acid levels, which robbed many dry Loire wines of their usual brightness. Domaine Henri Bourgeois consistently produces outstanding wines. They make many different Sancerres to highlight the subtles among the vineyards in that area. I can’t remember one that I didn’t love. The 2002 Quincy, labeled Haute Victoire, fits that mold. It’s pleasantly pungent and has a refreshing citric quality, which makes it an excellent choice for seafood. Its name not withstanding, you don’t have to be from Quincy to love this wine.

June 2, 2005.