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)