By Sean Cleary
on Mar 16, 2020

Reflections on Sancerre and Other White Wines

It seems that wine drinkers around the world simply can’t get enough Sancerre.


It’s easy to pronounce and a reliable partner to anything that ‘ladies who lunch’ would want to eat. Demand for Sancerre continues to be insatiable, and the wine, for the most part, continues to be most reliably enjoyable, if not particularly exciting, Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley. For those looking for an alternative, we’d like to present a few wines for your consideration– and for those not looking for an alternative to the primacy of Sancerre, please consider seeking these out… you’ll enjoy them just as much or even more.

Domaine Courtault-Tardieux Touraine “Avec Vue sur le Cher”

This Sauvignon Blanc comes from a single parcel in Thésée, a village famous for Sauvignon Blanc. To make this wine, Simon Tardieux selected one of his best vineyards overlooking the Cher river (hence the name of the cuvée). The profile shows another side of Sauvignon: broad, complex, and immensely satisfying.

Domaine des Hauts Baigneux “Sauvignon Blanc”

Philippe Mesnier never intended to make Sauvignon in Azay-le-Rideau, a Loire Valley village where Chenin Blanc has always been king. By some quirk, he inherited less than a hectare of Sauvignon when he took over some prime vineyards of Chenin. For several years he didn’t even bother to bottle the wine, and for the first time in 2019, he decided to bottle a bit and see the reaction. What can we say, other than it’s an impressively delicious bottle for something that shouldn’t exist, streaked with flinty minerality and racy acidity.

Château de Rhodes Gaillac Blanc

The two other wines selected are both 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire and are ‘kindred cousins’ to Sancerre. This Gaillac is made from unrelated distant grapes: Loin de l’oeil, Mauzac, and Ondenc. It’s submitted for your consideration because the wine offers a similar easy-drinking and high-acid profile that goes well with nearly everything and tends to disappear like magic from your glass.