According to legend, vines have been planted in Sancerre since ancient times.
Evidence of the existence of vines in Sancerre is given by Gregory of Tours in 582 in his Historiae Francorum.
In the 12th century, cultivation of the vine was given added impetus through the combined efforts of the Augustine monks at St-Satur and the ruling counts of Sancerre.
At that time, Sancerre was famous for its red wine, produced predominantly from the Pinot Noir grape, and exported from the region along the river Loire.
This wine is often mentioned in accounts of life at the royal court.
The famous wine of Sancerre was, in the opinion of Duke Jean de Berry, indeed the finest wine to be found in the entire kingdom.
In more modern times, cultivation of the vine has undergone some major changes.
The original vineyards, which were predominantly planted with Pinot vines, were destroyed by phylloxera at the end of the 19th century.
Sauvignon has since become widely planted, and is particularly suited to the local climate.
The natural advantage of terroir and the skill of local producers enables the region to produce great wines and these have born the AOC status since 1936.
The red and rosé wines, made from the noble pinot noir, followed in 1959 when they were awarded AOC accreditation.
Located along the banks of the river Loire, to the east of Bourges, the Sancerre vineyard stretches over 2,770 hectares.
Three types of soils predominate in the Sancerre region :
– clay and limestone white soils, the "terres blanches",
situated on the hills of the most western part of the "Sancerrois".
– pebbly soils, the "caillottes".
– siliceous-clayey soils(to the east of the vineyard, on the hills).
The Sancerre Appellation extends over the villages of Bannay, Bué, Crézancy, Menetou-Ratel, Ménétréol, Montigny, St-Satur, Ste-Gemme, Sancerre, Sury-en-vaux, Thauvenay, Veaugues, Verdigny and Vinon
White wines : The white wines are lively and full of fruit with pleasant mineral and citrus fruits aromas.
An initial aggressiveness on the palate, rounds off with a rich and well balanced finish. The white Sancerre wines are perfect with fish dishes and are particularly good with salmon.
Another local product, the goat cheese Crottin de Chavignol, is an equally good match. Foie gras would make an interesting and original partner.
Red wines : The red wines are a fine embodiment of the noble Pinot Noir grape. These wines often have aromas of red cherries and are robust and full-bodied, with a long-lasting finish. They may be best enjoyed with white meat dishes of rabbit or poultry.
Rosé wines : The true qualities of the rosé wines can be best brought out with poultry dishes or even with spicy food.