A wine from around the town1 of Sancerre on the left bank of the Loire Valley. By far the most well known and most widely produced Sancerre is the white, but there is also a red and a rosé.

Sancerre has Appellation d'Origine Côntrolée status. Thus, any respectable Sancerre wine should be labelled Appellation Sancerre Côntrolée — wines without this label do not meet basic production standards and should be avoided. The Appellation rules2 are not as strict as, say, those for Bordeaux wines, dictating only the grape contents, basic style, production method and regions and not imposing major constraints upon yield, sugar or alcohol levels.

White Sancerre must be dry and produced exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc. This leads to a crisp, acidic white with a taste somewhere between grapefruit and apple. Soil variations lead to two slightly different styles — limestone vineyards produce a more fully flavoured but less stable wine than those from the more laid back chalky soils.

The white goes well with less oily seafood, delicate chicken dishes and veal. It should be served chilled, but not so cold that the flavour is killed. This wine is best drunk young, with three to five years being the peak for most good producers.

The red is not very well known and can be hard to find outside of France. It is nothing particularly special, being comprised solely of Pinot Noir, but it makes an acceptable light red that can be served with cold meats and salad. Again, little ageing is desirable.

The rosé — again not so widely produced or distributed as the white — is one of the better French varieties. Made exclusively from Pinot Noir in a dry style, it lacks the overbearing sweetness found in the more familiar Anjou, allowing the fruit and mineral tastes to shine through. It should be drunk young (no more than two years), and served with lighter meat dishes, chicken or salmon.

1: Legally speaking, Sancerre is a city. However, with 2,000 inhabitants, town or village seems more appropriate.
2: http://www.inao.gouv.fr/public/produits/detailProduit.php?ID_PRODUIT=954 (in French)

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