Sancerre is a French wine Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) for wine produced in the environs of Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley, southeast of Orleans. Almost all of the appellation lies on the left bank of the Loire, opposite Pouilly-Fumé. It is well regarded for and primarily associated with Sauvignon blanc, making wines of great purity and elegance. Some Pinot Noir is also grown, accounting for around 20% of the region’s production, making red wines under the designation of Sancerre Rouge. A rosé style from Pinot noir is also produced in a style similar to Beaujolais.
White Sancerre was one of the original AOCs awarded in 1936, with the same area being designated for red wines on 23 January 1959. The AOC area has expanded fourfold over the years, most recently on 18 March 1998. The town lies on an outcrop of the chalk that runs from the White Cliffs of Dover down through the Champagne and Chablis. A series of small valleys cut through the chalk, each with their own soils and microclimate and terroir. In the east are the ‘flints’ that make minerally, long-lived wines. Between the town and Verdigny the soil consists of marl and gravel – ‘les caillottes’, producing fruity, well balanced wines. And in the southwest, away from the river towards Menetou-Salon, the chalky ‘terres blanches’ (white ground) produce weightier wines. Most – but not all – of the Sauvignon Blancs are unoaked.
Cited regularly with star ratings in the Guide Hachette, the small family Domaine du Pre Semele, based in the charming wine village of Maimbray in the heart of the Loire Valley, has been handed down from father to son for 3 generations. Claude & Remy Raimbault took over the reins in 1988 and were subsequently joined by their nephew Julien in 2001 when they created the new Domain name of Pre Semele. Remy is now approaching retirement age, so Clement his son is gradually becoming more involved in the viticulture and vinification. Total area exploited is 14 hectares or some 35 acres, of which 10 hectares (25 acres) is Sauvignon Blanc and 4 hectares (10 acres) is Pinot Noir.