With more than 80% of production in white, Sauvignon is obviously the king in Sancerre, but Pinot Noir (which accounts for around 10%) can give high-flying wines that do not have to be ashamed of their Burgundian cousins.
Elected "favorite village of the French" last year on the eponymous program broadcast on France 3, Sancerre presents itself like a hillock surrounded by vines. With the exception of a tiny enclosure of Franc de Pied Sauvignon belonging to the Vacheron family (one of the best producers in the appellation), there are no vines to speak of in this picturesque fortified village. They are all around, spread over 14 municipalities located on the left bank of the Loire. A geological fault following the north-south axis from Saint-Gemme en Sancerre passing over the western flank of Sancerre, as far as Vinon, makes it possible to distinguish on the Loire side flint soils and on the other, soils caillottes and Kimmeridgian-type limestone. However, Sauvignon, a very aromatic grape variety, will have a different profile depending on the composition of the soil. This is what motivates more and more winegrowers to produce so-called "parcel" cuvées, as is done a lot for example in Burgundy or Piedmont. Here are five wines to better understand Sancerrois and its surroundings.
Drink less. Drink better.
► The costs of this trip were paid in part by the Bureau interprofessionnel des Vins du Centre.
★★★ | $27.75 | France 13% | 2g/L
Code SAQ : 164582
Former property of the Marnier-Lapostolle group (Grand-Marnier), the 55-hectare vineyard was bought by the Saumur-based Ackerman house, which mainly operates in the bubble. Certified High Environmental Value (HVE) level 3, the entire vineyard should be certified organic in 2025. It is the best-selling Sancerre in Quebec. The grapes come from the three types of Sancerre soils. A nice nose of tangerine and white flowers gives way to a ripe fruity mouthfeel. Of fairly good density, it offers a saline, long and tight finish.
★★★ | $23.15 | France 13% | 1.7g/L
Code SAQ : 974477
★★★1/2 | $43.75 | France 14% | n/a g/L
Code SAQ : 13996329
Located in Verdigny, this family estate is grown organically (but not certified) and uses very little sulphite. With vines located on all three types of soil, including a superb plot on the legendary hillside of the Monts Damnés in Chavignol, Philippe Prieur and his nephew Luc offer high quality wines. The whites available at the SAQ deserve your attention, while the reds stand out for their depth and complexity. This is the case with this Pinot Noir from vinification with the whole harvest, which provides additional structure. A still tight wine with a virile profile that will be best after decanting or, even better, 3 or 4 years in the cellar.
★★★ | $18.30 | France 12.5% | 1.8g/L
Code SAQ : 11463828
Under the impetus of the young Clément Jolivet, the Pascal Jolivet house quietly abandoned its trader activity to focus on the vintages of the estate, which has around 30 hectares in organic production. The Sancerre 2021 cuvées ($31 - SAQ code 528687) and Pouilly-Fumé Blanc Fumé 2020 ($33.50 - SAQ code 14879597) are to be bought with eyes closed, as is the surprising plot cuvée Chêne Marchand 2020 ($39.75 - SAQ code 14890788). To get an idea of the style, try the 2021 Attitude cuvée, a particularly cheerful Sauvignon from Touraine and vinified brilliantly at Jolivet.
★★★1/2 | $37.75 or $21.85 in 375ml | France 13% | 3g/L - Organic
Code SAQ : 33480
The activity of the Mellot family in Sancerre dates back to... 1513! In homage to the founding father of the estate, each elder is named Alphonse. Junior, 19th generation, took over from Senior who remains in active retirement. The 56 hectares of the estate are cultivated biodynamically while the underground cellars that wind under the village are impressive. La Moussière, the estate's flagship wine, comes from a single vineyard with an area of 25 hectares. A 2020 all in light with an ample and vibrant fruitiness. Old vintages tasted in the past confirm that wine can age beautifully. We would like to have access to more cuvées from the estate in Quebec...