2- Why is Sancerre so popular?
First and foremost, Sancerre is popular because it tastes great!
Some of Sancerre’s popularity is down to the popularity of its grape, Sauvignon Blanc. Naturally crisp, with citrus overtones, Sauvignon Blanc overtook Chardonnay as the “glass of choice” among many casual wine drinkers years ago.
But there’s more to Sancerre than just a popular grape.
Much of Sancerre’s vinous consistency is owed to the Sancerre region’s ideal climatic conditions. Centered on the village of Sancerre in the Loire Valley’s Central Vineyards, the region enjoys a continental climate, not unlike Burgundy (Sancerre is actually closer to Burgundy than it is to most of the Loire’s other famous regions). This climate allows grapes to ripen with fully developed, complex flavors, while also preserving the acidity necessary to keep the wines feeling fresh and food friendly.
Sancerre also has the kinds of soils that make truly great wines possible, with a mix of limestones, flints, clays and gravels giving variety and character to the wines. Add in a combination of rolling and steeper hills, varied expositions, and devoted growers and winemakers, and you have a recipe for great wine.
3- What makes Sancerre's soils special?
Sancerre is a region of unique and exceptional terroir which, from a geological perspective, can be loosely broken into three parts:
(a.) Silex: a clay with flint, which makes delineated and elegant wines that age well
(b.) Kimmeridgian limestone (terres blanche): a chalky soil made of ancient oyster fossils can be the most structured and take the longest to express themselves, but are delicious and full of personality;
(c.) Oxfordian limestone: comes in two main varieties, referred to as caillottes (a mix of limestone and gravel) and griottes (a mix of limestone and clay) tends to make the earliest-drinking Sancerre, often charmingly aromatic, floral and nuanced, but sometimes also deceptively deep and long-lived.
Each of these soils has significant impact on the taste of the wine, and Sancerre is a great region to develop your own understanding.