It’s movie-selling time in the south of France this week, meaning that the creme de la creme (and actual festering pile of dung, Woody Allen) are all going to be sipping rosé on the beach, while we simple folk enjoy turbulent pre-summer weather and potential Zika virus infection. Très charmant! Thankfully, this means more hidden Loire Valley gems in which we can drown our sorrows.
Sauvignon Blanc might seem like old news, but you need to turn around and salute to the Sancerre. A region located on the left bank of the Loire Valley, Sancerre makes about 3.5 million gallons of white wine a year, almost exclusively from the sauvignon blanc grape. (Basically, just enough to stock every book club meeting this side of the Rocky Mountains.) Sancerre has ideal soil for a nuanced and mineral-driven expression of the grape, with chalky white soil meshing with limestone (y’all know how I love me some limestone soil), and flint. We’ve all had the brash, grapefruit and gooseberry forward savvys of New Zealand; if you are adventurous you’ve probably also tried Chile’s sprightly and aromatic ones or even the soft and elegant Bordeaux expressions. I’m here to tell you nobody can put a hand on Sancerre.
Sancerre is the Lady Leshurr to the Azealia Banks, restrained yet subversively powerful. Perfumed with citrus and chalk, you are unlikely to find a dominant fruit on the palate, but the aromas and flavors are of lime, grapefruit and lemon, with floral notes and that wonderful salty river rock flavor we know as ‘minerality.’ These wines have a texture and sometimes even a weight in the mouth that recall the best chardonnay of Chablis. These wines are here to slay.
Sancerre, being a Loire Valley appellation, is actually not as expensive as one would think. A high quality Sancerre can often be found in the $18-$25 range and exceptional, ‘share this with bae after a massage and you’ll have a little Francois in nine months,’ mind-altering Sancerre can be found for less than $40. I bought a half case of the phenomenal Sancerre in the top image, a 2013 Sommet Doré, for only $16.96 a bottle. Sancerre is a perfect wine to quietly destroy your enemies over a dinner party, or spice up that Memorial Day hideaway in the Catskills. Sancerre is a wine for thinking but also for regular drinking, which is basically my MO.