Hello wine friends! In an effort to explore new and different wine varietals, today I bring you Sancerre. Sauvignon Blanc’s softer, sexier and sometimes sultrier sister. She slips in the room, bright and crisp, but ends up tricking you in the end. Soft and mellow with smoky citrus notes. She makes you think. Sancerre may very well be a catch.
Sancerre is grown on the eastern side of the Loire Valley next to its close neighbor Pouilly-Fumé. Sancerre is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes which accounts for its minerality and citrus influence. But in true French nature, its terroir comes through most commonly with flinty, chalky notes. Not surprisingly, it also has some characteristics of Pouilly-Fumé (Fumé means smoke in French). This is the dividing line between the big, bright and kicky Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and California as Sancerre has many of those qualities but can also be mellow and light.
Today’s Sancerre is a 2011 La Forêt des Dames made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes. This is a classic-style Sancerre with light green apple and herbs on the nose. It is crisp but mellow with soft toast and smoke on the finish. A touch of bitterness like green pepper balances the muted acidity and toasty nature of this wine. This would be dynamite with grilled asparagus or sushi, spicy Asian or Indian, seafood or cheese. Or simply enjoy it sitting on the deck this summer watching the world go by.
At $16, this is an excellent price for a true French wine of this quality as most would be well into the $20 and over range. It is a soft, delicate alternative to the tart citrus bombs coming out of New Zealand. Give Sancerre a try, she just might hook you. Enjoy!