When I first came down with oenophilia, I nurtured this infectious devotion to wine, often delving into the influence of rocks and soil composition. I’ve also paid attention to names. My first impression of Sancerre was that it was one of the easier wines to pronounce, and the double “ss” sound made me think “sip-sip because I’ve got some zing-zing.”
Which is a completely solid way to remember this wine, by the way. Next to remember is that old world wines are named after the place. Located in the Loire region of France, Sancerre justifiably means Sauvignon Blanc, just as Chablis equals Chardonnay. And not to be ignored, there is Pinot Noir in Sancerre, too, but in small numbers.
What makes Sancerre different from other Sauvignon Blancs of the world is where it’s from. The vineyards surround the eponymous town of Sancerre in the eastern Loire Valley, and the better wines have a minerality that is not unlike its nearby neighbor, Chablis, located 75 miles away. This isn’t surprising as they grow on the same Kimmeridgian-era limestone embedded with fossils of ancient shellfish, which is said to give the wines their vivid, flinty and dramatic freshness.
Something so fresh and bright and reminding of the sea calls for seafood such as oysters, followed by more seafood. At Bardot Brasserie inside Aria Las Vegas, try Roger Neveu Sancerre and have it with the classic King Crab and Endive Salad. Neveu’s Clos des Bouffants vineyard is steep, due-south-exposed and composed of limestone.
On the nose, imagine walking through a Meyer lemon grove that opens up to a lush meadow overgrown with wild grass intermixed with a smattering of dandelion. On the palate, the plush ruby red grapefruit and downy Pomelo pith, along with crushed rock from the nearby stream, leads to a hint of endive bitters and bay laurel, making this wine the perfect complement to the salad.
At first glance, the salad appears to resemble Red King Crab legs, but, in fact, it is an amusing array of crisp and narrow endive leaves stuffed with crab meat, showered generously with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, capers and house-made Caesar dressing. Opt to use the fork or not; it’s simply the most sophisticated finger food ever. This salad’s flavors are a seamless match with the wine’s bright precision—crystalline and pure with zing!