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Summer Wines: Sancerre

 My favorite white wine is perfect for a dinner party or special occasion in the park.  

I want to take you on a short journey to some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. The place is the Loire Valley and the regional wine is one of the tastiest white wines out there, Sancerre. Aptly named after the medieval town that sits atop a hill looking down on the Loire River Valley. Sancerre is not a place full of adventure, but taste and delight.

Known principally for the production of red wine from the Pinot Noir grape until the 20th century, Sancerre was devastated by insects that attacked and killed the vines at the root in the late 19th century. The vineyards were later replanted in Sauvignon Blanc. In 1936, Sancerre white was given AOC status (Appellation d’origine contrôlée). What this means is that under French law the wine is produced in a consistent and traditional manner with ingredients from specifically classified producers in designated geographical areas. Also, while the region also produces red and rose wine, it’s their whites that are most famous today. 

Sancerre is a clean fruity, dry, mineral-inspired white wine. It is often compared to neighboring Pouilly-Fumé which also specializes in 100% Sauvignon Blanc wines. Broadly speaking, Sancerre tends to have a fuller body with more pronounced aromas. It has a naturally high acidity with citrus and spicy accents as well as more mineral, flinty notes. This is often described as pierre à fusil or gunflint.

Sancerre and the surrounding area is a romantic place to visit and well worth a trip. The wines from this region are as beautifully tasting as the Loire Valley itself. I can still see the fog coming from the river, rolling over the vineyards in the early morning hours and blanketing the grapes in a cool refreshing mist. I have fond memories of not just finding this great wine, but also meeting some of the local wine makers that still use the old ways of selecting grapes and blending. Today, the region and wine making is a bit more mechanical, but there are still small family run farms that will act as a consortium; blending and making a local version of Sancerre, that is some of the best white wine I have ever had.  

Wine is not just about taste, but experience. It can bring back memories and add accents to many different cuisines. Sancerre, is a wine I would certainly recommend for a nice dinner party or special occasion in the park.  

I have spent a lot of time in the wine country of France, Italy and Spain and while I am not an expert, I can say that I am a well-traveled wine enthusiast. Let me know what you want to know more about and I will share what information I can on wine in coming posts.


Where to Buy: You can certainly visit your local store, but today there are many options to be found online and nearly everyone ships across the US subject to local and state liquor laws. These are my picks. Wine.com – Try Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2018. Zachy’s – This a great option for a splurge Sancerre Caillottes Francois Cotat 2017. Binny’s Wine Merchants – Try Domaine Thierry Merlin Cherrier Sancerre 2018. Also remember 2017 and 2018 were great years for Sancerre.

And if you have a chance to visit France and the town of Sancerre, then you should definitely visit the House of Sancerre.