Sancerre (wine)


Sancerre (wine)

Sancerre is an "Appellation d'origine contrôlée" (AOC) for wine produced in the environs of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley, southeast of Orléans. Almost all of the appellation lies on the left bank of the Loire, opposite Pouilly-Fumé. It is regarded as the spiritual home of Sauvignon Blanc, making wines of great purity and elegance. Some Pinot Noir is grown, making mostly light red wines for quaffing, but at their best they can pass for those from neighbouring Burgundy.

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The town lies on an outcrop of the chalk that runs from the White Cliffs of Dover down through Champagne and Chablis. A series of small valleys cut through the chalk, each with their own soils and microclimate, leading to a local obsession with terroir.

In the east are the 'flints' that make minerally, long-lived wines. Between the town and Verdigny the soil consists of marl and gravel - 'les caillottes', producing fruity, well balanced wines. And in the southwest, away from the river towards Menetou-Salon, the chalky 'terres blanches' (white ground) produce weightier wines. Most - but not all - of the Sauvignon Blancs are unoaked.

Pinot Noir accounts for around 20% of production. Most of it goes into rosé or light reds similar to Beaujolais, but a few producers go for a more serious Burgundian style.

History

Sancerre's position as an administrative centre, and the large nearby cities of Orléans and Bourges ensured healthy local markets for the Pinot Noir wines traditional in the area. Demand further increased with the coming of the railway from Paris. In the late 19th century phylloxera wiped out the old vines, which were replanted with Sauvignon Blanc because it grafted better onto the American rootstocks. The area quickly established a reputation for elegant white wines, confirmed by designation as an AOC in 1936.

Appellation

White Sancerre was one of the original AOCs awarded in 1936, with the same area being designated for red wines on 23rd January 1959. The AOC area has expanded fourfold over the years, most recently on 18th March 1998. cite web | last = Clancy | first = Tomas | authorlink = | coauthors = | title = A searing wine for 2007 | work = | publisher = The Sunday Business Post, Ireland | date = 2007-01-28 | url = http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2007/01/28/story20608.asp | format = | doi = | accessdate = 2007-04-28 ]

The AOC covers the communes of Bannay, Bué, Crésancy, Menetou-Râtel, Ménétréol, Montigny, Saint Satur, Sainte-Gemme, Sancerre, Sury-en-Vaux, Thauvenay, Veaugues, Verdigny and Vinon.

Only Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir may be used.

ee also

*French wine
*Domaine Fournier

References


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