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.
The town of Sancerre, a grand medieval hill town with a rich winemaking heritage.
Alsace is famous for its wine route through picturesque villages and countryside. All photographs by johnbrunton.com