If you like crisp, high acid wines, then you might already have enjoyed the occasional glass of Sancerre. The wine, which is produced in the area of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley, benefits from the area's cool climate, variety of soil types, and unique aspect. Around 80% of the wines grown in the region are white, characterized by a bone dry finish and flavors of citrus, flint, coarse sea salt, and herbaceous botanicals. It's worth noting that while white varities of Sancerre are made entirely from Sauvignon blanc, not all Sauvignon blanc comes from Sancerre. There are many unique properties to Sancerre that aren't shared by other varieties of Sauvignon blanc. For instance, New World Sauvignon blancs typically have a much grassier flavor with tropical fruit notes, whereas Sancerre is characterized by mineral-driven, flinty notes that come from the silex soils unique to many of the region's estates. As well as white wine, the region also produces a small number of red wines crafted from pinot noir. The final flavor profile of the wine depends on where and how the fruit was grown, along with the method of vinification and the vessel in which it was aged. Most estates vinify the harvest in a combination of either stainless steel and oak or stainless steel and cement. To preserve their fruity freshness, wines rarely go through a malolactic fermentation after the initial fermentation. When it comes to enjoying Sancerre, the crisp acidity and citrus freshness make it an ideal partner to pungent cheeses and fresh seafood. Providing the alcohol level isn't excessive, it can also make a good accompaniment to spicy dishes. If you're ready to upgrade your wine order, check out our pick of the five best bottles of Sancerre wine you have to try.
5. Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rouge
As cliffswinepicks.com notes, the Chotard family winery was established in 1789 and has an annual production of 8,300 cases of wine. Of the wines it produces, two are white, one is rosé, and two are reds. Each is outstanding, but the Domaine Daniel Chotard Sancerre Rouge deserves a special mention. The fruits are farmed from vines aged between 20 and 55 years old that are grown in clay and limestone clay. Sustainable farming methods are used and the grapes are harvested by hand. Once harvested, the fruit is immediately de-stemmed and pressed. It's then vinified in a combination of stainless steel and oak. The final product has an alcohol content of 13.0%. A luscious, full-bodied wine, it coats the mouth in flavors of tart cherries balanced by earthy notes of soil. Although perfect paired with a punchy cheese platter, it also makes a fine companion to spicy, Asian-influenced dishes.
4. Gérard Boulay Sancerre à Chavignol Blanc
The hamlet of Chavignol may be tiny, but it produces some exceptionally fine Sancerre. Its limestone-rich soil, south-facing aspect, climate, and grape variety are unparalleled. Of its wineries, Gérard Boulay is, as Bibendum.com notes, one of the greatest, producing some of the most distinctive and sublime wines in the region. The wines come with a punchy vibrancy, free of raw varietal character and with a quality that reflects the limestone soils that they come from. The Sancerre à Chavignol Blanc is a particularly poised example, blessed with fabulous purity, exciting textures, and a racy energy. A stone fruit-driven white with a good amount of acidity and a lingering finish, it's good enough to convert even those who don't usually like Sauvignon to the merits of Sancerre.
3. Domaine Delaporte Sancerre Chavignol Blanc
Located in the tiny hamlet of Chavignol deep in the heart of the Sancerre region, Domaine Delaporte is a family-owned winery that's been passed from father to son since the 17th century. Since 2010, its been helmed by Matthieu Delaporte, whose precise management and forward-thinking has led to the adoption of a more organic approach to farming, with herbicides now no longer used anywhere on the estate. Described by liquor.com as a bone-dry Sancerre rich in flavors of pear skin, green apple, stone fruit, and wet rocks, Domaine Delaporte Sancerre Chavignol Blanc is an accessible crowd-pleaser. It's fermented and aged in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats for six months, before being bottled by gravity with no filtration. Pure, vibrant, and lively on the palate, it pairs perfectly with the punchy goat cheese that comes from the same village of Chavignol as the wine.
2. Domaine Serge Laloue Sancerre Rosé
As thewinesociety.com writes, the 20 acre Serge Laloue estate was established by the late Serge Laloue on the slopes of Thauvena, just south of the hilltop town of Sancerre. Since Serge's death, the winery has been run by his son Franck and daughter Christine. The vines are 25 years old or older and are sustainably farmed using organic methods (although the winery isn't certified as such). The winery's commitment to quality and precision results in consistently high-quality vintages, while the cool microclimate and flinty, granitic soil add a delectable punch of acidity to the finished wines. The Domaine Serge Laloue Sancerre Rosé is made from pinot noir grapes but vinified like a white wine. The end result is a fresh, lively wine with just the faintest hint of blush. Dry, refreshing, and with fruity notes of strawberry and redcurrant, it makes a classic pairing with seafood
1. Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc
Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc is organic, biodynamic, and as delicious as it is worthy - as you'd expect from a family that, as northberkeleyimports.com notes, is widely considered to be Sancerre’s leading winemaking clan. The estate simply gets better with each passing year, as evidenced by the delightful Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc. The fruit for this pedigree wine is harvested from 30- to 50-year-old vines grown in chalky silex soils. Once harvested, the grapes are vinified in cement and stainless steel with native yeasts before being aged and bottled unfiltered. Expect a bright, ripe peach aroma with notes of lemon, lime, sage, tomato leaf, and sea salt. Crisp, wonderfully textured, and with a long finish, it's an incredibly polished wine that pairs well with fresh seafood.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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