Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Sancerre, dramatically situated hilltop town on the left bank of the upper Loire which lends its name to one of the Loire’s most famous, and famously variable, wines: racy, pungent, dry white Sauvignon Blanc, which enjoyed enormous commercial success in the 1970s. The town’s situation on such a navigable river, and the favourable drainage and topography of the rolling countryside around it, assured Sancerre’s long history as a wine producer; the suitability of the site for viticulture was obvious from Roman times. Until the mid 20th century, however, Sancerre produced red wines, and white wines from the Chasselas table grape. Sancerre’s dramatically simple, piercing Sauvignon flavours of gooseberries and nettles were initially introduced into the bistros of Paris as a sort of white wine equivalent of Beaujolais, but, by the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sancerre was regarded as the quintessential white wine for restaurants around the world.