WINE O’CLOCK: Name’s the same but the wine is different
By MICHAEL WOLSEY
IN Ireland we associate the name Sancerre with good white wine, dry with flavours of apple, peach, and apricot – perfect summer drinking.
Wines with that name come in the medium price bracket and are a safe purchase. If you order one in a restaurant, you know your guests won’t be disappointed. If you bring one to a dinner party, you know your hosts will be impressed – unless you attend much more upmarket parties than I do.
We always think of it as white, but there is also a red Sancerre. Like the familiar white, it is a smooth, light, classy little wine from the Loire valley. But, despite the similarities, these wines are not twins, or even siblings.
The white is made, primarily, from Sauvignon Blanc grapes which give it light body, high aroma, and those intense summer flavours.
The red is primarily from Pinot Noir and is similar to any of the good, light reds that sell under the Pinot Noir name. They are known for floral aromas and delicate flavours.
A Sancerre rosé is also made from the Pinot Noir grape. I have never tried it – indeed I have never seen it in Ireland. But it is said to be very good: dry and light-bodied with raspberry and strawberry notes.
The red is not widely available here either. But you will find Bailly-Reverdy, Sancerre Rouge, for €26.90 at Le Caveau, Kilkenny. Light bright and full of the taste of red summer fruits.
For the traditional white – crisp with green summer fruit flavours – try
Sancerre Les Hautes Pierres (O’Briens €19.95).