Centre-Loire > Sancerre
AOP/AOC by decree dated 14th November 1936 (whites)
AOP/AOC by decree dated 25th January 1959 (Rosés and Reds), amended 25th August 2011
Location: The Sancerre vineyards lie on the left bank of the Loire north east of Bourges, and extend over the communes of Bannay, Bué, Crézancy, Menetou-Ratel, Ménétréol, Montigny, Saint-Satur, Sainte Gemme, Sancerre including the hamlets of Amigny and Chavignol), Sury en Vaux (incl. Maimbray), Thauvenay, Veaugues, Verdigny, and Vinon.
- Whites: 2,393
- Reds: 335
- Rosés: 260
History: Legend leads us to believe that grapes have been grown in Sancerre since early times; Gregory of Tours mentioned the Sancerre vineyards in his writings as early as 582. In the 12th century, the vineyards developed significantly under the auspices of the Augustine monks at Saint-Satur and the Sancerre nobility. At the time, Sancerre produced a famous red wine made mainly from Pinot Noir and exported via the Loire; this often featured in the royal chronicles of the time. Having been destroyed by phylloxera at the end of the 19th century, the vineyards were replanted with Sauvignon, a grape particularly well-suited to the region’s soil and climate. Sancerre granted AOC status in 1936; in 1959, it was joined by reds and rosés made from Pinot Noir
Soils: The Sancerre landscape is a combination of hills and valleys. The rugged Cuesta (highest point 356 metres) is formed by upper Jurassic strata to the west; two central faults (Sancerre and Thauvenay) link these to the Cretaceous and Eocene formations found in the east. Intense erosion has produced 3 types of soil: Terre blanche (clay and limestone), caillottes and griottes (limestone), and siliceous clay.
Climate: Temperate with a continental influence. Average temperatures range from -1° in winter to 26° in summer; the fluctuations can be explained by a decreasing oceanic influence. Spring frosts are possible (1991) but uncommon. Average rainfall is 756 mm per year, although the growing season is relatively dry. The steep slopes promote good drainage, minimising the impact of rain.
Average annual production over the last 5 years: 176,000 hl.
- White: 143,000hl
- Red: 19,000 hl
- Rosé: 14,000 hl
- White: Sauvignon Blanc
- Red and Rosé: Pinot Noir
Minimum planting density: 6,100 vines per hectare.
Pruning: Single or double guyot; cordon de royat.
Lively, vibrant and full of fruit: citrus aromas with an edge of minerality. The attack melts away into a rich, rounded palate. Serve between 8 and 12°C
Food and wine pairings: Serve alone as an aperitif, with any type of goat’s cheese including, of course, Crottin de Chavignol shellfish, or with fish dishes in sauce. Foie gras also makes an unexpected but superb match for wines from good vintages.
Aging potential: 2 – 3 years; up to 5 – 10 years for some cuvées.
These showcase the very best of Pinot Noir, with warm scents of cherries on the nose. Full and firm on the palate with excellent length. Serve at 13 – 14°C.
Food and wine pairings: Red meats; seafood stew.
Aging potential: 2 – 3 years; up to 10 years for a good vintage.
Notes of menthol and pepper alongside aromas of apricot and redcurrant. Crisp and lively on the palate. Serve at 8°-12°C.
Food/wine pairings: Sancerre rosés pair beautifully with chicken or turkey dishes in sauce, world cuisine, apricot tatin or apple crêpes.
Aging potential: 2 years