Sancerre & Chablis - Two Day Wine Tour
Capable of producing the purest, freshest, most mineral white wines on the planet. The wines from these two unassuming French wine regions have travelled the world and been enjoyed by many for centuries.They feature on all good wine lists and are obligatory in any decent collection, many wine lovers - myself included - openly admit they are their favourite white wines (full stop). Geddit?
But very few visitors to the wine regions of France divert from the well-trodden wine trails of Bordeauxand the Grand Cotes of Burgundy to explore these wonderful valleys and villages surrounding thepicturesque viticultural towns of Sancerre and Chablis.
Both towns share a vinous heritage which goes back to the Romans but was developed by monastic orders who recognised the quality of these wines from the 9th Century. Both regions owe the character found in their wines to the rocky limestone slopes and cool climate which very much suit the sauvignon and chardonnay grape varieties. And although the hilltop town of Sancerre perches above the majestic Loire river and Chablis is the proud northern sentinel of Burgundy, the two towns stand shoulder to shoulder, separated by 120 kms of France's most beautiful countryside. Although I've been combining these two regions in tours for over a decade, for reasons unknown, I’ve never put an itinerary on this site. I hope this makes it into print! I can guarantee that if you liked these wines before joining me on this tour, you'll be crazy on them by the time we finish.
Sancerre and Chablis in 2 days Few people can look at a map of France and immediately point their finger to these two regions. You'd probably be suprised as to how close they are to Paris, which is good news as it makes them easy to
access if your travel hub is Paris. From Paris Gare de Bercy you can train to Cosne sur Loire (Sancerre)
and Auxerre (Chablis) in under 2 hours. Or, if you are driving, both wine regions are just over a 2-hour
drive south of Paris.
Sancerre. Brendan picks you up from your hotel or railway station after breakfast and heads for the rocky slopes flanking the hilltop town of Sancerre. At a panoramic viewpoint he briefly introduces you to the history of the ancient appellation before visiting a well-established family wine producer in the village of Sury en Vaux. Here we enjoy delicious crisp whites plus the lesser known red and rosé, also under this appellation. Time to squeeze in a second morning family tasting prior to lunch, either on a sunny café terrace in Sancerre's central square, or a picnic with stunning views over the vineyards. After lunch we’ll
cross the mighty Loire to taste the sauvignon blancs on the opposing banks of the river from the Pouilly Fumé appellation. Returning to Sancerre late afternoon, you can check into Hotel Panoramic to enjoy the amazing view and a nice dinner in one of the cosy local restaurants, walking distance from your hotel.
Check out after breakfast and travel with Brendan (rail traveller) or follow in your own car. Glorious 90 minute drive this morning through empty country roads, sleepy rural villages, ancient churches and castles to the vineyards of Chablis. High up in the Grand Cru vineyard Brendan gives you the background on this similarly-ancient wine producing region while you admire the view over 12,000 acres of chardonnay vineyards. From here, a short drive to one of the top local wine producers to enjoy a tour of their winery followed by a tasting of the dryest white wines in Burgundy, including 1er Crus and Grand Crus. Into Chablis for a simple lunch in one of the two great local cafés to rub shoulders with the locals, or choose a picnic in the vineyards with local cheeses and terrines.
Following lunch, a short 15 minute drive to the villages of Chitry and St. Bris to taste more great wines from Chablis, lesser-known fruity pinot noirs, and some of the excellent regional bubbles (methode traditionelle) called Cremant de Bourgogne. Return to Chablis to check into your hotel. A couple of great restaurants within walking distance. Option of spending night in Chablis or Auxerre and getting train to Paris next morning; or Brendan can drop you off same evening for return train to Paris.