Sancerre, a medieval town located in the Upper Loire has become home to one of the most notable and praised examples of Sauvignon Blanc. A classic French white wine, Sancerre offers wine lovers a delectable wine experience full of grassy and herbaceous aromas along with pronounced citrus flavours. Below, we’ll guide you through the history of this white wine, its tasting profile, and much more.
The History and Origins of Sancerre
Many wine enthusiasts often ask the question: “What is Sancerre?” Sancerre is both a well-known French wine region and a name for white wine. Similar to Champagne, winemakers in this region produce wines of the same name. The most famous is that of white Sancerre. Made entirely using Sauvignon Blanc grapes, it is considered the most recognizable appellation for French Sauvignon Blanc.
Legends suggest that winemaking has been a tradition in the Sancerre wine region since the 15th Century. Traditionally, the two main grapevines planted here were Pinot Noir and Gamay. However, due to the region’s cooler continental climate, neither grape varietal had particular success. In the late 1800s, Sancerre plantations also fell susceptible to the Phylloxera epidemic. As a result of this epidemic, many winemakers choose to start over with Sauvignon Blanc, a grape that is better suited to cooler climates.
It wasn’t long before Sancerre’s iteration of Sauvignon Blanc became famous in Paris and across the world as a wine that paired greatly with good food and company.
Sancerre: A Tasting Profile
Due to Sancerre’s terroir, this white wine offers a subtle and yet complex flavour profile that often isn’t matched by other Sauvignon Blanc. While styles can vary depending on the producer, there are core aromas and flavours that wine tasters can expect to experience from Sancerre.
This light to medium-bodied white wine offers distinct mineral notes due to the region’s flinty soils. The terroir’s gravel and chalk components, on the other hand, are the influence behind the wine’s citrus and floral notes. Other common tasting notes for Sancerre white wine include:
- Herbaceous, earthy: grass, chives, thyme, basil, smoke
- Fruit-forward: lemon, lime, pink grapefruit, green apple, poached pear
- Sweet (usually from oaked version which is rare): shortbread, lemon curd, brioche
This multi-textured wine is often noted for being lively, lengthy and offering lip-smacking acidity. Its depth and complexity firmly place Sancerre wine as one of the ideal iterations of Sauvignon Blanc.
How Does Sancerre Compare to Other Sauvignon Blancs
As you may already know, Sauvignon Blanc is cultivated in many regions across the world – from the golden coast of California all the way to New Zealand. While Sancerre is a classic example of Sauvignon Blanc that holds its own in terms of aroma and flavour, there are many other examples of great Sauvignon Blanc. One such example is Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand.
This grape variety typically produces an aromatic wine high in acidity. This is true for both regions. However, where the difference lies is in the taste profile. As terroir influences aromatics in a wine, a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc can either offer: tropical fruit-forward flavours including notes of white pepper if grown in the Wairau Valley, or tomato leaf notes in the Awatere Valley.
Sancerre, on the other hand, isn’t either overtly herbaceous or fruity due to its continental climate. Sancerre’s Sauvignon Blanc retains its refreshing personality while also displaying more subtle notes of apricot, lemon, and grass.
Buy Sancerre Wine Online with The Small Winemakers Collection
A truly delicious white wine, Sancerre wine can be enjoyed with many dishes ranging from goat’s cheese to seafood. This classic Sauvignon Blanc example is a true reflection of the history, expertise and craftsmanship of winemakers in the Sancerre region. Coveted around the globe by many sommeliers and wine enthusiasts alike, a glass of this Sauvignon Blanc will not disappoint.
At The Small Winemakers Collection, we’ve included a delectable Sancerre as part of our Mixed Savvy Sauvignon Sampler. For more other white wine recommendations, reach out to our team today and we’ll be more than happy to help you.