Sancerre wine route: top 10 guide

Wine from the Sancerre region of France is beloved by many – especially sauvignon blanc – but local wineries also offer the chance to try pinot noir, rosé and organic wines. We pick the best winemakers, bistrots and B&Bs in the area

Photos and words by John Brunton for the Guardian

Sancerre

The town of Sancerre, a grand medieval hill town with a rich winemaking heritage.

Sancerre is a firm fixture in restaurants and wine bars around the world and a trip into its vineyards – only a couple of hours drive from Paris – offers the chance to explore one of the most welcoming regions in Francefor wine lovers. Sancerre itself is a grand medieval hill town, with dozens of cafes, bistrots and “caves” to taste wine in. Set off into the countryside, and every winery is open for visits: as a sizeable part of their production is sold directly at the Domaine, with loyal customers often coming back for decades. Best known for its crisp sauvignon blanc, Sancerre has increasingly high-quality pinot noir and rosé too, and there is an exciting new generation of little-known vignerons to discover, many working to make organic wines. It is also well worth going to the adjoining Menetou-Salon appelation – whose vineyards are coming out of the shadow of their noisy neighbour and producing some outstanding wines.

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Top 10 guide to the Alsace wine route

Alsace marks the end of the grape harvest with a host of festivals in October, making it the perfect time to visit the vineyards and villages along France’s famous wine route

Alsace, France

Alsace is famous for its wine route through picturesque villages and countryside. All photographs by johnbrunton.com

Wine tourism is a tradition that has long existed in Alsace, and many villages along the region’s famous wine route celebrate the end of the grape harvest with wine festivals throughout October – there are very good ones in Eguisheim and Turckheim this weekend.

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