Here is my recommendations for old world Sauvignon Blanc wines. I wrapped it all up as a theme idea for your next wine tasting party.
Sancerre is a French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for wine produced in the area of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley. Almost all of the appellation area lies on the left bank of the Loire. It is well regarded for and primarily associated with Sauvignon blanc. Some Pinot noir is also grown, accounting for around 20% of the region’s production, making mostly light red wines under the designation of Sancerre Rouge. A rosé style from Pinot noir is also produced.
The Appellation regulations
Besides the Geographical Indication of origin, according to AOC regulations, only Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir are permitted as AOC classified Sancerre wine. The yields of Sancerre blanc are limited to a maximum of 60 hectoliters per hectare while Sancerre rouge and rose are restricted to maximum yields of 55 hl/ha. The minimum alcohol content of Sancerre blanc is 10.5% alcohol per volume while Sancerre rouge and rosé must maintain a minimum alcohol level of 10%. Wines made outside these AOC regulations are declassified as vin de pays table wine.
The Bourgeois Family is a pioneer in single vineyard winemaking in the Sancerre region. In that way, they extract the purest expression from each terroir. Next come winegrowing and maturing wine in a cellar, adventures that are embarked upon each year to best showcase the personality of the vintage. They use Terroirs as the basis of their inspiration and work as winegrowers. The variety of their vineyards in the region enables them to present us with the whole range of flavors of Sancerre AOC wines.
I have been working with Domain Henri Bourgeois wines since 1997 when I first got in the business. I recommend a few wines out of the winery’s portfolio to put together a tasting flight that can help you conceptualize Sancerre AOC wine.
Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc, IGP Val de Loireis a fully ripe Sauvignon Blanc which shows the right freshness and fruitiness typical from this elegant grape variety. This wine was not produced following the AOC regulations and the grapes come mainly from the slopes of the broader Loire Valley, therefore it cannot carry the name of an Appellation.
Henri Bourgeois Sancerre ‘Les Baronnes‘ is the one I’m most familiar with! Typical of the Sancerre appellation and the Domaine Henri Bourgeois style. The hills and ridges separating the village of Chavignol from Sancerre are composed of clay and limestone (65% clay and 35% chalk). “Les Baronnes” comes from this terroir that gives wines with fruitiness and vivacity with typical varietal aromas of ripe citrus fruits and white flowers.
Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Jadis comes from soil of kimmeridgian marls, recognizable by a multitude of fossilized oyster shells from the famous and well exposed slopes of Chavignol. For this wine, low yields, organic fertilizer only, use of grass cover, everything is made to respect the terroir and to obtain the most beautiful grapes.
After pressing, the juice is allowed 2 days of natural clarification by sedimentation. Next, the juice is placed in barrels and tanks. Alcoholic fermentation converts the natural sugars into the wine’s soul while the flesh of the grape creates its rich bouquet. Sancerre Jadis is racked and bottled in accordance with the lunar cycle and is sure to charm your palate –
- Bedford Wine Merchants has a special offer on this wine these days.
Not much of a surprise if you have known the restless spirit on Monsieur Henri Bourgeois
- Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand After a 12 year exploration, New Zealand was chosen as the place to create a style of wines that would reflect the Bourgeois philosophy. In the year 2000 the family made the instinctive and emotive decision to purchase 98 hectares in the Wairau Valley in Marlborough. The Bourgeois family was amazed at the youthfulness of the land, unlike in France where the ground has been worked for centuries.
‘Clos’ is a French word representing an ancient custom of enclosing a unique vineyard or precious garden, traditionally with a stone wall. The name ‘Henri’ was chosen in respect of Henri Bourgeois and his long family commitment to wine.
There is only one thing that comes in mind when I think of what to nibble on with Sancerre and that is Goat’s Cheese! Nothing in the world can bit the matching of Sancerre and Chavignol Chevre!
However if you really want to get your experience to a different level, I strongly recommend watching the episode on Sancerre at the The Sauce is in the Glass show.
Where Best Sommelier of the World Andreas Larsson receives Arnaud Bourgeois from Chavignol, a small village in the Loire, France. Andreas will create a dish to match the famous minerality of his Sauvignon Blanc ‘Les Baronnes’.
With ingredients from the fridge, Andreas is challenged to create another dish to match the wine he tasted blind; Arnaud Bourgeois’ favourite wine made by someone else.
Blind tasted wine: Domaine La Soufrandière, Pouilly-Vinzelles ‘Les Quarts’, 2018
Wine-Searcher.com is the place to go online if you want to find where to buy a particular wine that interests you. Furthermore, Wine-Searcher.com magazine offers so much more. It’s well worth a visit just to discover its many features, including its unique simple guide to wine styles
The internationally highly acclaimed cinematic documentary series about taste, tradition & terroir!
Watch episode 2, season 1 on the beautiful Loire Valley, known as the ‘Garden of France’, featuring Domain Famille Bourgeois.
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My recommendations are based on deep experience with and knowledge of these companies and their products. I recommend them because they are genuinely helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I may receive. If an affiliate link is available I’ll use it to generate revenue and help enrich my guests experience, too. Please don’t spend any money on these products unless you believe they suit your needs.