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Sancerre wines from the Loire valley

The village of Sancerre overlooking the vineyards and the Loire valley.

The vineyards of Sancerre dominate the Loire Valley in front of Cosne sur Loire. Very localized, Sancerre covers only a few villages among which Sancerre and Chavignol and are best known. The Sancerre region produces an excellent white wine but also an amazing red wine to be discovered.

Sancerre is - at an altitude of 310 meters above sea level - built on a small isolated mountain belonging to the hills of Sancerre. The little town dominates the left bank of the Loire Valley. The city of Sancerre is spread over the smoothest slope, oriented south-west, from the base to the top of the hill. In good weather, Sancerre offers a magnificent view on its vineyards and on the banks of the Loire.

The creation of the sancerrois vineyards dates back to Roman times. Pliny the Elder and Lucius Columella, in the Treaty of agronomy De Rustica, mention the existence of the Gallic vineyards on the banks of the Loire. In 582 Gregory of Tours explicitly mentions the vineyards of Sancerre.

In the twelfth century, the vineyard of Sancerre experienced a real boom in particular through the efforts of monks. Sancerre then produced a famous red wine mainly from pinot noir and exported by the Loire river.

At the end of the 19th century unfortunately, like many vineyards of France, the Sancerre region was hit by phylloxera, which destroyed the entire vineyard. Later, the tenants reintroduced in their plots a majority of Sauvignon blanc, a grape well suited to the climate and soil. Like everywhere they used   American rootstocks more resistant to phylloxera. The quality of the soil of Sancerre and work of its winemakers were again recognized in the 1st AOC (Appelation d'Origine Contrôlée) decree in 1936 for Sancerre white wine, made from Sauvignon Blanc. In 1959 it was the turn of red and rosé wines, from Pinot noir.

Today, the vineyards of Sancerre mainly produces white wines and covers about 2750 hectares on the left bank of the Loire, east of Bourges. The area designation covers all 14 municipalities of Bué, Crézancy-Sancerre, Menetou-Râtel, Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre, Montigny, St. Gemme-Sancerrois, Sancerre, Saint-Satur, Sury , Vaux, Veaugues, Verdigny, and Thauvenay Vinon. The vineyards of Sancerre is near the neighbor vineyard of Menetou-Salon and faces the vineyards of Pouilly-sur-Loire, Pouilly-Fumé.

The wines of Sancerre in a few words

The white wines of Sancerre are dry but generally have a round mouth, are fresh and balanced. They can be drunk young (1 to 3 years), but some vintages have a good potential for ageing. They come from one single grape: Sauvignon Blanc. Their color is green or pale. The aromas developed classically by the white wines of Sancerre range from floral to fruity notes such as citrus (grapefruit, pomelos). These aromas are determined by the soil where the vine grows.

The red and rosé wines are, as in Burgundy and Alsace, made from Pinot noir. The rosé wine is dry and fine, bold enough. The red wines have a beautiful dress with cherry aromas of red berries and even flowers. The wines are balanced, with power and finesse.

The wines of Sancerre ideal tasting temperature is rather cool (not frozen! because the cold and ice kill the aromas). Summer, a time for grilled meat or fish, is an ideal season to discover the Sancerre. The characters in red and white wines of the region wines are ideal for "sunny" meals or an elegant picnic. The rosé wines are also a great association with exotic cuisines through their spicy notes.

And of course, we must not fail to enjoy the wines of Sancerre together with the famous local goat cheese: crottin de Chavignol!


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