This week our taste-testers savour a selection of Sancerres and they encounter its subtle elegant and distinctive range of fruit flavours .
Les Pierres Blanches Sancerre 1998 pounds 8.49, Victoria Wine
St Michael Les Ruettes Sancerre 1998 pounds 7.99, Marks & Spencer
White Sancerre, though it doesn't say so on the label, is Sauvignon Blanc.
But it was Pinot Noir that first brought fame to the steep, stony vineyards that surround the spectacular hilltop town of Sancerre.
Until Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc burst on to the scene in the 1980s, Sancerre, with its neighbour across the Loire, Pouilly Fum, established a reputation as the world's best Sauvignon, finer than any example made in Sauvignon's native south west France.
Real Sancerre experts believe that each soil type brings a different nuance of taste, but the unifying factor is a dry, tangy minerality, rather than the passion fruit and tomato stalk that typifies a Marlborough Sauvignon.
Most white Sancerre should be enjoyed young and fresh; but a handful of growers believe that more complex, rich wines are possible.
I first began to understand this concept of connectedness when I was in France talking to a man who makes Sancerre (the name of both the wine and the village around which its grapes are grown).
As far as he was concerned, Sauvignon Blanc was just the medium through which his special part of the world, Sancerre, could be tasted.