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Sancerre at a Glance

Sancerre at a Glance

Sancerre at a Glance

Touraine Sauvignon Blanc

The Loire Valley in France is often overlooked by wine lovers who think the entire region produces only of Muscadet and fizzy Saumur wines. It does, of course, produce those but they are only 2 types on a long and prestigious list of wines that originate in the region.

In terms of whites, the Loire produces world famous wines made using Chenin and Sauvignon blanc grape varieties among others (such as Muscadet from Melon de Bourgogne).

I'll discuss the Chenin based wines in another article but for this I'm going to concentrate on the Sancerre, the Sauvignon Blanc wine which is often referred to as "The Ultimate French Sauvignon Blanc".

Sancerre

Sancerre is located right in the middle of the Upper Loire in Western France, an area known as "Château country". It's neighbour, by just 16km, is the appellation of Pouilly-Fumé, known for sauvignon blanc based white wines that although from the same grape, are completely different.

The Loire river runs right by the village of Sancerre keeping temperatures low and cool which is ideal for the grape variety and allowing these wines stand out from their counterparts in Bordeaux.

If you are a lover of tart, light-bodied, aromatic white wines then Sancerre is the place to look. My mouth is watering at the thought!

To be honest, the appellation of Sancere is a manufactured beast with row upon row of neatly mechanically harvested vines spewing out this sappy, palate sharpening grape variety BUT they work. Mostly, in part, down to the soil which gives a flinty minerality to the wine and offers a dryness unrivaled in the tart, aromatic sauvignon blanc world.

A true Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre offers zesty citrus, lime and grapefruit, gooseberry, green apple and pear fruit and herbaceousness that can range from thyme to chamomile to grass depending on where it's grown and seasonal weather. Some Sancerre is oaked which adds an additional dimension such as straw and bready brioche.

Put all that together with sappy dryness and you've got a pretty versatile wine.

Sancerre

The Loire is goats cheese country and Sancerre is the best partner for the chalky, dry, often nutty cheese that can take many forms.

One of the most famous is the cheese called Crottin de Chavignol from the village of Chavignol. These little round, hard buttons of cheese are exceptional served warm on top of a bed of fresh spring greens. See my recipe here for Warm Goats Cheese Salad

Although if you're looking for Sancerre food pairings it's not hard to find a list of willing participants:

Meat, especially white meat such as chicken, pork and turkey

Cheese - goats cheese, feta, gruyere

Vegetables - any from the pepper and onion family work really well with this as do herbs and spicy ginger and horseradish

Fish - trout, smoked trout, salmon, fresh shrimp

 

Try some of these super examples of Sancerre:

Domaine Naudet Sancerre from Waitrose

Domaine Sylvain Bailly Sancerre "Terroirs" from Adnams Cellars

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