Part of the reason certain French wines are popular is because Americans find their names pleasant to pronounce. Take “Chateauneuf du Pape” for example. It rolls off the tongue in a way that makes you feel like you’re a fluent French speaker. Heck, for a second, it even made the Beastie Boys sound less like drunken punks and more like Captain Picard.
Sancerre is another one. Nothing makes people happier than ordering a glass of Sancerre. Say to your waiter, “I’ll have the Sanccerre” and its sounds like you’ve just returned from Paris on a private jet with Brangelina.
Without a doubt the wine regions of Chateauneuf and Sancerre produce some stunning wine. The problem is that our attraction to these names causes us to overlook wines from places we’re not quite sure how to pronounce. When is the last time you requested a Menetou-Salon or Rouilly? These are two of Sancerre’s neighbors that can produce equally enjoyable white wines made from Sauvignon Blanc for two thirds the price.
It just so happens that our latest wine is a Sauvignon Blanc from yet another neighbor. The Coteaux du Giennois is located in the eastern Loire River Valley just north of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Like Sancerre, the soils of Giennois are comprised mostly of limestone and flint. Here, Sauvignon Blanc vines yield berries with lighthearted aromas and a delicate crispness. We think this is probably the best Sauvignon Blanc you’ve never heard of that you can bring home for less than $15 a bottle.
And the best part is that Giennois is equally easy and fun to say, once you know how to say it. Click here for a little French lesson that will soon have you singing the name “Giennois” like Madeleine Peyroux … or at least like Pepe le Pew.