Meet Sancerre, Your New Favorite Summer Wine
Remember when rosé first became a thing? It seems without much notice that many Americans collectively put down the Boone's Farm, or perhaps a fizzy Bartles and Jaymes and picked up a bottle of pink wine from France to fill in as their summer sipper. Speedos suddenly became OK, along with Lillet on ice and European cigarettes and everyone craved café more than they craved coffee.
Rosé deserves its run, especially when it's dry, minerally and served ice cold. It's a casual and relaxed varietal you could get away with serving in a red Solo cup, and maybe even with an ice cube (though I'm not the one who told you to do it). Rosé does not, however, deserve to reign supreme as they only summer wine. Especially if it means overlooking Sancerre.
Sancerre is made with the sauvignon blanc grape, but if that name evokes the bottom shelf of the wine aisle at your grocery store you're going to need reprogramming. As long as you've found a good one, Sancerre, which hails from France, has loads more personality than the stuff you're used to drinking from South Africa, New Zealand or California. A great Sancerre will have grassy, citrus flavors with a distinct minerality that makes every sip an experience. It's very acidic, can wash about anything off your palate, which makes it an excellent all around food pairing.
It's also very refreshing, which is precisely why we're discussing Sancerre as temperatures creep up toward 100 degrees. Find yourself a patio with some shade and a good bottle can wash away summer's swelter.
There are plenty of bottles that will blow you away with their expression of terroir or personality, but there are also lots of commercial wineries that turn out less distinctive wines. For your best chance at a good one find a wine shop that offers tastings and try a few on for yourself. Last week I was at The Wine Therapist on Skillman Street and stumbled upon a Sancerre from Henri Bourgeois that's available by the glass, and to take home, too. If you're looking for something that refreshing and distinctive you might seek this one out, or another like it. You might even take the real glassware out to the poolside after you've found the right bottle for you. And you should definitely ditch the ice cube.
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