Guide to Sancerre
Are you familiar with Sancerre? This lovely French wine is food-friendly and beautifully bold. Yet it is also elegant. Learn a little about this wine, its region, and some of its classic pairings.
Overview of the Sancerre AOC
Sancerre is a wine region in France. It is an appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) that is mainly on the left bank of the Loire river. It predominantly produces Sauvignon Blanc (although roughly 20% of the region’s grapes are Pinot Noir and labeled as “Sancerre Rouge”).
Sancerre is located in the Loire Valley, which is in the middle of the country and extends slightly north and east. On its eastern side, it borders Burgundy. Because the region is so far inland, it experiences short, hot summers and long, cold winters.
Sancerre has had its AOC status since 1936. Since then, the AOC has expanded to nearly four times its original size. The region is known for its chalky soil and the many valleys that run through this chalky area; each has its own terroir (in the east, soil with more flint produces wines with higher minerality; in other regions, soil with more gravel produces fruitier wines).
Sancerre flavor profile
Sancerre is a dry, lighter-bodied wine that has very high levels of acidity. It is most often aged in stainless steel tanks, which keep the wine fresh and light.
Sancerre tends to have aromas of grapefruit, melon (such as honeydew), and sweet hay or grass and herbs. It can also have flint-like minerality, citrus, and spice notes.
Due to its versatility, Sancerre is a fun wine to pair with foods: it is excellent with fresh-shucked oysters, yet also a perfect accompaniment to roasted chicken, many types of fish (including trout, salmon, and bass), turkey, and pork. When preparing meats, fish, or poultry to pair with Sancerre, keep your herbs in mind. Sancerre goes incredibly well with tarragon, thyme, chervil, basil, chive, as well as citrus, such as lemon and lime.
Occasionally, Sancerre can have interesting notes of funk, similar to the goat cheese crottin de chavignol produced in the area. While this may sound off-putting, it’s actually a lovely quality and makes the wine incredibly food-friendly for regional dishes with this cheese. In general, Sancerre pairs beautifully with goat cheeses and other tangy cheeses, such as feta.