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Wine of the Week

Succulent Sancerre

Yes, $28 is above average for a Sancerre, but then this week’s Wine Of The Week—the Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2009—is very much an above-average Sancerre.

Until recently, Sancerre was never really taken seriously. It was a popular café wine to be sipped along the boulevards—or in more prosaic English, a good by-the-glass pour.

But now Sancerre is growing up as innovative producers such as the dynamic Pascal Jolivet are focusing on quality rather than quantity and consequently, raising expectations as to Sancerre’s true potential.

Some wines are about fruit, some are about earth. This beauty is all about stone. It is tightly focused, even precise, with a slate-like minerality running right to its core.

There’s not an ounce of flab on the wine, it’s almost puritanical in its obsessive crystalline clarity.

Jolivet sums up his approach to winemaking thus: "My wines have finesse, elegance, with clean aromas and flavors. There is a paradox in the winery because I use technology—but only to control the fermentation, not to interfere. I make natural wines that are easy to drink, not ‘technical wines’ that are heavy and don’t go with food."

This is noninterventionist winemaking at its best, with the pure high harmonies of Sauvignon Blanc singing out of every glass.

To find this wine near you, try Wine Searcher.

Breathing/Decanting: Now

Food Pairing: All seafood, chicken, hard cheeses.

Grapes: 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc

Appellation: Sancerre

Region: Loire Valley

Country: France

Price: $28

Availability: Moderate


Nick Passmore is an independent wine writer and consultant based in New York. For five years he contributed a widely read monthly wine column to, in addition to which his work has appeared in such publications as Forbes, Discover, Town & Country, the Robb Report, Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Sky, and Golf Connoisseur. He is currently artisanal editor for Four Seasons magazine and contributes a twice monthly column to He is also a judge at the annual Critics’ Challenge wine competition.

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