New arrival: Eric Louis Sancerre

Photo by Flickr user Avlxyz

Photo by Flickr user Avlxyz

Paris brasseries and bistros pour thousands of glasses of Sancerre each year along with their “plateau de fruits de mers”. After all, what could be better with briny fresh oysters, cockles, crab claws, snails and shrimps? No doubt, this is why for the millions of tourists who have endured the brisk service of a La Coupole waiter, there really is no better choice for seafood than a nicely chilled bottle of SANCERRE. Its also easy to pronounce for linguistically challenged Americans. No wonder it’s most likely the most known of all Loire wines.

There are now 2,800ha (hectares) of vines planted here, meaning Sancerre accounts for more than half the central Loire region’s total of 5,000 ha. While the vast majority is Sauvignon Blanc, about 25% is Pinot Noir. In fact before phylloxera devastated these vineyards at the end of the 19th century, red varieties dominated – principally Pinot Noir and Gamay, and until appellation contrôlée was introduced, some of these grapes went north to be used for making Champagne. It was only after phylloxera that Sauvignon Blanc took over.

The Louis Family has been making Sancerre for over 200 years. The name of the estate is Celliers de Pauline after Eric’s grandmother. The estate operates as a “lutte-raisonée” producer, or reasonable methods, meaning they use as little non-organic intervention as possible. Fertilizers and insecticides are not used. Leaving the vineyards natural, or “grassing over” is practiced.

Mainly planted on chalky stony soils, Sancerre is 100% Sauvignon, dry, fruity, with juniper–like notes, concentrated, full-bodied in mouth. To optimize fruit flavors, yields are reduced then after the  harvest, the wine is matured on its lees until February. Several successive tastings determine the best time for the bottling. There is no oak used to make this wine.

Located near Thauvenay, one of the 15 of Sancerre AOC. This is one of the greater plateaus in Sancerre. The soils here are almost exclusively silex. Wines are friendlier here, more fruity and mineral here. More powerful, austere wines come from the Western side of Sancarre where most of the white chalky soils are.

This Sancerre is classical in its high toned gooseberry-juniper fruit aromas, mineral sea-salt tanginess, and plump palate roundness. A less austere style, more gin-cocktail style of Sancerre. Perfect for shellfish, delicate fish, like the river pike of the region, and of course, the famous goat cheese of the region “Crotin de Chavignol” or horse turd of Chavignol” name for its small round shape. If you are in the area and having a goat cheese emergency, no worries! There is a Crotin vending machine in the center of Chavignol offering 4 different ages of the cheese!

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