Legend has it that there have always been vineyards in Sancerre
, and in fact the first vines were probably planted here in Antiquity. The first historian to write of them was Grégoire de Tours, in 582. In the 12th century they flourished under the care of the Augustinian monks of the Abbey of Saint-Satur and the counts of Sancerre. At that time the wine produced here was a red made mainly from Pinot Noir, which was exported by way of the Loire River and therefore appears with increasing frequency in royal documents of the period. Duke Jean de Berry even called it one of the greatest wines in the kingdom. But the region's vines also went through hard times, especially in the late 19th century, when it was destroyed by phylloxera.
To continue production local vignerons (winegrowers) had to replant their vineyards, and in addition to Pinot Noir they selected Sauvignon Blanc, a variety that is well adapted to the local climate and happens to be resistant to phylloxera.
Turning to Sauvignon proved to be an excellent choice for the terroir; it has developed beautifully here and is perfectly suited to the climate of the Loire Valley. Over the years, thanks to the work of local growers and producers, Sancerre has earned a reputation as a very high quality wine. In 1936 it was granted an official appellation for white wine, and in 1959 the reds and rosés made from Pinot Noir were also raised to AOC status.
Sancerre encompasses about 2,770 hectares (6,845 acres) on the banks of the Loire River, to the east of the town of Bourges, in fourteen different villages: Bannay, Bué, Crézancy, Menetou-Ratel, Ménétréol, Montigny, Saint-Satur, Sainte-Gemme, Sancerre, Sury-en-Vaux, Thauvenay, Veaugues, Verdigny, and Vinon.
There are three soil types in Sancerre : white earth, composed mainly of clay and limestone, on the extreme western slopes of the appellation; “caillottes,” a very rocky limestone soil; and clay-silica, on hillsides in the eastern part of the appellation. Our favorite Sancerre producers include Domaine Alphonse Mellot / Domaine de la Moussière, Domaine Vincent Pinard, Domaine Lucien Crochet, and Domaine Vacheron.
More informations on the website of the wines of Sancerre