Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chablis vs. Sancerre

Seattleites do not take summer for granted. Following the gloom of winter and lingering drizzles of spring, summer days are long, warm, sun-filled with just a touch of humidity. Spring flowers transition into summer bloom with an abundance of assorted berries, stone fruit, and fresh produce. Seattleites live for the summer!

Summer is also the time when we leave the red wines in the cellar and start breaking into blush and white wines, the perfect accompaniment to a charcuterie spread enjoyed on a boat, in a park or on your deck. My niece and partner in wine, Taylor, and I are having fun picking out white wines from the cellar and tasting through them. This month, I'd like to share our experience with two delicious French whites - Chablis and Sancerre.

Pascal Bouchard Chablis vs. Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc

2013 Pascal Bouchard, Chablis, Fourchaume 1er Cru
I never thought I would like Chardonnay that much till I tasted a white Burgundy. It is not weighed down by oak the way California Chardonnay tends to be. For the most part, I like my white wines crisp and fruity with a nice balance of minerality and acidity. Among the white Burgundies, Chablis delivers that for me. It is summer in a glass!

The Pascal Bouchard Chablis sourced from the Fourchaume vineyard is classified as Premier Cru (second highest classification in Burgundy, with Grand Cru being the first). The wine is fresh with a nice blend of acidity and oceanic minerality, that makes you want to pair it with some fresh oysters. It definitely works wonderfully with cheeses, cured meat, olives, and pickles.

Price: $39 (West Seattle Wine Cellars -

2014 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc
Most people are familiar with New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, especially those from the Marlborough region. However, after a magical encounter with a bottle of 2010 Domaine Etienne et Sébastian Riffault Sauletas Sancerre in New York a few weeks ago, we are going for a French Sauvignon Blanc. (Side note: The Domaine Etienne et Sébastian Riffault Sancerre was creamier, fuller in body, and less fruit forward than what I would expect from a Sancerre Blanc.)

We opened up this 2014 vintage from Domaine Vacheron, which is more typical of a Sancerre Blanc. It was medium-bodied with high acidity, delicious minerality, and green apple notes. Again, I imagine oysters and seafood by the beach with a glass of Sancerre Blanc.

Price: $35 (West Seattle Wine Cellars -

Taylor and I toasting to summer
My Verdict: After tasting both wines side by side, I am struck by how alike they are despite being from different grape varietals. Looking at the map of Chablis and Sancerre regions, they are really close in proximity. Additionally, they lie on the Kimmeridgian Chain, known for chalky soil with limestone and a high content of crushed shells. It is no wonder that both whites have complexity and crisp minerality that make me want to eat fresh oysters! Still the Chablis has a little bit more body and the Sancerre more acidity. Both are great for summer!

To that, we raise our glasses to you - santé!