Sancerre, located on the eastern side of France’s Loire Valley, in northwestern France, is a wine-producing region best known for its crisp, white wines. Wines from this region, crafted almost entirely from sauvignon blanc, are commonly called Sancerre.
Although white wine accounts for a majority of the region’s production, small amounts of red wine are made in Sancerre, which are produced from 100% Pinot Noir. Rather than single-type grape varieties, such as Riesling or Pinot Noir, the Sancerre wine refers to the wine from the region.
Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the two primary wine grapes used in Sancerre wine. Sauvignon is used for the more popular and standard Sancerre Blanc, while Pinot Noir is for Sancerre Rouge and Sancerre Rosé. All Sancerre Blanc is made with Sauvignon Blanc; however, not all Sauvignon wine comes from Sancerre. When making Sancerre Blanc and Sancerre Rosé, the skins are removed immediately after crushing. Sauvignon Blanc will ferment into a white wine, and the pinkish fruit of the Pinot Noir for Sancerre Rosé will result in a light-pink wine. Sancerre Rouge is allowed to ferment before pressing. This is because the skins will impart the necessary red color and flavor to the wine.
A producer’s harvest and vinification choices have a lot to do with the final flavor profiles of the wine. Sancerre wines tend to show citrusy, mineral-driven flavors that are heavily noted by flint and notes of gunsmoke. The flinty notes from the fermentation and unique soil of the region are what marks Sancerre away from other wine varieties.
Since most varieties are not that sweet due to its lower sugar content, Sancerre has a nice, dry finish with every sip. Sancerre wine has an excellent balance of acidity and high alcohol content, and it’s perfect for both cooking and as a dessert wine, as it is low in tannins. The acidity and citrus-driven nature of Sancerre wines also makes them perfect for serving with fresh seafood, savory citrus, poultry dishes, spicy Asian dishes, and cheese and charcuterie boards.
With its distinctive notes of lemon peel and stone fruit, Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc is thought of as the classic French Sauvignon Blanc and is considered to me among the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Aside from being delicious, Sancerre wine has an excellent reputation due to its heritage and distinct flavor.