Sancerre Wine Information

Sancerre Map  Sancerre is one of the Loire Valley wine region's most easterly appellations and, some argue, its most prestigious. This area was once associated with light-bodied red wines, but since the mid-20th century Sancerre has become world famous for the crisp, herbaceous style and marked minerality of its Sauvignon Blanc. It still produces red and Rose wines, exclusively from Pinot Noir, but these represent only about one-fifth of its annual production.

The region first got its AOC for White Sancerre in 1936, with the same area being designated for reds on January 23, 1959. Since its first inception the AOC area has expanded fourfold, with the most recent changes being on March 18, 1998.

Due to varying soil types and micro climates different areas within the AOC produce different styles of Sancerre. The soils in the village of Chavignol, just north west of Sancerre are light and include a mix of gravel and limestone which produces more perfumed wines. In the western reaches of the AOC, around the village of Bue, the soils are more clay based and produce wines with that are full bodied and rounded. The flint deposits near Menetreol-sous-Sancerre produce wines with mineral and steely notes. The three villages of Chavignol, Bue and Menetreol-suos-Sancerre are widely associated with producing the highest quality Sancerre wines. Nearly all Sancerre wines are unoaked.

Sancerre History

Grapes are thought to have been first cultivated in the area by the Romans in the first century AD. The fact that there are Roman bridges across the Loire river in the village of St-Satur, which is at the port of Sancerre, add weight to this theory.

Pinot Noir vines are thought to have been introduced in the time of the Duchy of Burgundy, who was historically linked to the region. The large nearby cities of Bourges and Orleans helped ensure a large local market for the Gamay and Pinot Noir wines produced here. The opening of the French rail further boosted the market for wines produced here, and the region flourished. The phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th century devastated vines in the area, with almost all of the Gamay lost, and only a small amounts of Pinot Noir saved. This actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as growers replaced the lost Gamay with plantings of Sauvignon Blanc. Post world war II the reputation of wines produced here grew and increases in quality control in the area in the 1970s and 1980s saw the wines popularity grow throughout the world.

The region first got its AOC for White Sancerre in 1936, with the same area being designated for reds on January 23, 1959. Since its first inception the AOC area has expanded fourfold, with the most recent changes being on March 18, 1998.

Sancerre Region

The Sancerre Appellation Sancerre Controlee area lies North-east of Bourges city, in the east part of the Loire Valley, on the left bank of the river. It covers approximately 2,800 ha (6,900 acres) of area, including the villages of Bannay, Bue, Chavignol, Crezancy, Menetou-Ratel, Menetreol, Montigny, St-Satur, Ste-Gemme, Sancerre, Sury-en-vaux, Thauvenay, Veaugues, Verdigny and Vinon.

The Sancerre wine growing region contains three different soil types. The far western reaches heading towards Menetou-Salon have “white” soils with clay and limestone. Around the village of Chavignol , the soil also includes some Kimmeridgian marl. Closer to the city of Sancerre the soil consist of more gravel mixed with the limestone. The third classification of soil is found around the city of Sancerre itself which includes many deposits of flint, which is also known as Silex.

Sancerre Tasting Notes

The Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to be very dry to bone-dry, with an aroma and taste that closely resembles peaches and gooseberries. They often possess flint mineral flavors, with hints of grass and the fine earthy flavors from the countryside which it came from. It is also one of the few wines that are not often cured in oak barrels, which helps these wines retain their fruity flavors. The Pinot Noir produced her tends to be light to medium bodied with delicate flavors and floral aromas. The Rose tends to be dry and light, with notes of red fruit such as strawberry and raspberries.

Sancerres Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with salad greens and other sharp ingredients such as tomatoes, capers, and vinaigrettes. Seafoods such as Sauteed white fish, oysters, smoked salmon also go well with this wine. For the Pinot Noir and Rose pairings refer to those wine types.