Sancerre is a famous Loire white Sauvignon Blanc appellation
located on the left bank of the Loire, across from Pouilly-Fumé.
While Pouilly-Fumé's vineyards are tightly clustered and homogeneous,
Sancerre's fourteen communes (including the great villages of
Chavignol, Bué, Verdigny, Amigny and Menetreol) are widely
dispersed, covering nearly 3,000 ha over vertiginous valleys at up to 350
metres above sea level and three distinct soil types: `silex', a white flint
found round Sancerre and Menetreol in particular giving perfume and a fine
structure; `terres blanches', a calcareous clay soil that whitens as it dries
(widely distributed), delivering a full fruity richness; and `caillottes', a
(Portlandian?) soil brimming with large limestones, imparting both power and
verve, as found in Sancerre, Chavignol and Bué.
A fourth soil type, `griottes', tightly packed with small limestones, has
also been identified, as found near the village of Vosges. Kimmeridgean clay
crops up less consistently than in Pouilly-Fumé and since most Sancerre , bar
the single-vineyard wines, are a blend of soils the result is a richer, fuller,
fleshier Sauvignon Blanc.
As with Pouilly-Fumé, an increasing number of (single-vineyard) wines are
being raised in french oak, mostly 500 litre and demi-muids; little
surprise in light of naturally higher alcohol levels due to global
Top vineyards include `Les Monts Damnés', `La Grande Côte', `Le Cul de
Beaujeu', `Grand (and Petit) Chemarin', `Chene Marchand'.
Leading producers include: François Cotat, Vincent Pinard, André Dezat, David Sautereau.
Sancerre Rouge is also made from Pinot Noir, the quality of which
is often compromised by bleeding some of the juice to make Rosé. Vincent
Pinard is a master nonetheless.