Sunny, Spectacular Sancerre
If Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular white wines in the world, then Sancerre is arguably where it reaches its peak of quality. Located in the Loire Valley of France, the Sauvignon Blancs from Sancerre are among the most expressive, transporting white wines in Europe and beyond.
What is Sancerre?
Sancerre is a white wine produced from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety in and around Sancerre, France. According to French law, any white wine labeled as Sancerre is required to be produced entirely from the Sauvignon Blanc grape variety. White wine from Sancerre France tends to be crisp and mouthwatering, with notable citrus flavors joined by a telltale hint of fresh-cut grass, hay, or even occasionally flowers and minerals. Red Sancerre exists, but you rarely see it on the American market. When you do, it's worth checking out, as it provides a unique expression of the Pinot Noir grape variety. But white Sancerre—Sauvignon Blanc—is the vast majority of it, and what people generally mean when they mention the word Sancerre.
Where does Sancerre come from?
Wine from Sancerre France comes from the appellation of the same name in the eastern part of the Loire Valley, which itself starts in France’s west coast and works itself toward the center. The Sancerre wine map looks like a collage of vineyards scattered around the appellation, each of which tries to take full advantage of the unique geology of their particular patch of the region.
How is Sancerre made?
By law, white Sancerre is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes, which are harvested, pressed, and then fermented into wine. In general, most Sancerre is not aged in oak barrels, and when it is, the barrels tend to be neutral, meaning that they’ve been used several times before and no longer impart any flavor to the wine. Sancerre is typically made in either stainless steel tanks, concrete, or cement, which allows their inherently lifted aromatics and vivid fruit to shine through without being obscured by oak.
What are popular brands of Sancerre?
Whether you’re looking for the best Sancerre wine 2018, Sancerre wine 2017, or any other vintage, there are countless options at a range of price points that are worth seeking out. Some of the most popular are La Moussière Sancerre, François Cotat, Langlois Château, Patient Cottat, Henri Bourgeois Sancerre, Le Pré Vaujour, Salmon Sancerre, Reverdy la Reine Sancerre, Domaine Fournier, Alphonse Mellot, and Dom Millet, among others.
What kind of wine is Sancerre?
Sancerre is a crisp, mouthwatering wine made from Sauvignon Blanc. And because the general Sancerre wine price makes it a fantastic value for the money, it has gained widespread popularity among wine-lovers, both experienced and new. We often hear people ask about the similarities between Sancerre wine Chardonnay wine and other great whites of France. Sancerre is never Chardonnay, and Chardonnay is never labeled Sancerre. Easy!
What is the French equivalent of Sauvignon Blanc?
Sauvignon Blanc is a French grape variety, and it's produced in a range of styles throughout the country. In Bordeaux, it’s one of the two main white grape varieties in Bordeaux Blanc (the other is Sémillon). In the Loire Valley, it goes by the name of the two appellations where it reaches its peak: Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. In general, Sancerre tends to be more mineral and brisk, but both are excellent options.
What does Sancerre wine taste like?
Sancerre tends to be crisp, mouthwatering, and full of energy, with flavors of citrus (often on the grapefruit end of the spectrum), fresh-cut grass, hay, or bell peppers, and a mineral note that reminds some tasters of oyster shells or wet sidewalks. There are also sometimes notes of stone fruit and subtle hints of flowers, too.
Is Sancerre wine dry?
Generally speaking, yes. It’s rare to find a sweet Sancerre, though, in some warmer vintages, the ripeness of the fruit flavors gives the impression of something leaning in the direction of subtle sweetness. Typically, however, Sancerre wines are all about their savory, bracing character, which is one of the reasons that Sancerre wine pairing with food is so easy: It works with fish, seafood, pasta (without tomato sauce), and even white meats like veal and pork.
Do you chill Sancerre?
Yes, Sancerre is best enjoyed chilled. More opulent vintages are best with a little bit less time in the fridge or ice bucket, but even they should be served well-chilled. Warm Sancerre will often taste a bit flat, which defeats the purpose of such an energetic, exuberant wine.
What does Sancerre pair with?
The acidity in Sancerre allows it to cut through rich sauces, as well as butter and cream. It does well alongside white meats like pork, chicken, and veal, and pasta is excellent with it, as long as there's no tomato sauce. Fresh fish and seafood are also excellent options. Sancerre and oysters are a classic combination in France. Sancerre even pairs well with certain vegetable- and seafood-based dishes from Vietnam and Thailand. Sommeliers often say that if there is Sancerre wine near me, then there’s likely to be great food, too. We agree with that logic.
Browse our full selection of Sancerre wine online or check out our selection of highly-rated Sancerre wine for a great new Sancerre wine to try this week!
Want to learn more about Sancerre wine?
Visit our Guide to Sancerre to learn more about Sancerre wine.