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This article was originally written for Vinspire and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

There are some wine regions that become so well known for a certain grape or varietal that they become almost synonymous with it. Think Malborough and Sauvignon Blanc, Mendoza and Malbec.

One area that could be considered in the same category is Sancerre, one of the most vaunted AOCs within the Loire valley, which is renowned world-wide for its mineralic, steely, flinty Sauvignon Blancs.

French wine production areas. Source: Wikipedia

French wine production areas. Source: Wikipedia

I was pleasantly surprised then when I received a bottle of 2012 Pinot Noir “Le Rabault Rouge” from Joseph Mellot in Sancerre. I immediately took to the internet and read that according to Wikipedia 20% of the wine production in Sancerre is given over to Pinot Noir – why hadn’t I heard more of this before?

As I started to think about it, it made sense that Loire would produce Pinot Noirs; the region shares approximately the same latitude as Burgundy and has many of the same characteristics with the world’s premier Pinot Noir production site.

I mentioned my surprise that I was to be drinking a Pinot Noir from Sancerre on Twitter and feedback was mixed; some said “of course the Loire makes great Pinot – it has been doing so for years”, others shared my surprise and were curious as to what it was like.

So, how did I get on with the wine?

InstagramCapture_52158405-27a5-45b8-9cf6-6d4a82665d87When I poured the wine into the glass it was a rather delicate, light red. The wine had a distinct meniscus to it, which was a little surprising for a wine so young, but probably down to its very light body.

On the nose the dominant smells coming through were red fruits and that characteristic Pinot Noir bitter-almond smell. I noted that additionally it had quite a “pretty” bouquet, with slightly perfumed twinge.
As I tasted it I felt that the wine was rather light bodied, which one would expect from a young Pinot from this kind of area; it was never going to be one of those fruit-driven, opulent Pinots that you get from the New World.

There was quite a lot of tartness of the wine, in fact if anything it felt that there was a touch too much. To my mind it needs a touch more time to balance out and mellow a little more. As I let the wine breathe a little more it did start to open up, but it still had a while to go. The wine went very well with a pasta dish that I was cooking with some Italian salami.

Conclusion: 7.5/10
In conclusion, this was an interesting wine and I will certainly be trying to scour wine shops and wine lists for further examples of Pinot Noirs from Sancerre so that I can learn a bit more about these wines.
This wine is available from Hatch Mansfield for £18.99/bottle.

Disclaimer: I was kindly sent this bottle by Hatch Mansfield as a sample. Opinions contained within this post are my own.  

6 thoughts on “Exploring the Loire: Pinot Noir from Sancerre

  1. Interesting read! There are so many locations tied to one specific type of wine when, usually, there are many more options than the most famous one available. Glad to see that your experience was generally positive.

  2. Those of us studying know there is Pinot Noir from Sancerre, but how many of us have tried it? Thank you for sharing your experience! Who knows? Maybe I’ll come across one in the Canadian market yet!

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