When you speak of Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley, Sancerre is often the first region to come to mind. While Chenin Blanc is the white wine that dominates the vineyards to the west of the Loire valley, when you reach the eastern end of the Valley it is Sauvignon Blanc that takes center stage. Pouilly-Fume & Sancerre are the most famous AOCs here, with Pouilly-Fume sitting on the east bank of the Loire and Sancerre on the west. These two regions are considered the benchmark for Sauvignon Blanc.
The French #Winophiles are digging into Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley and beyond this month led by Deanna Kang of Wineivore. You can read her invitation post here!
You can join us to discuss Sauvignon Blanc on Saturday, July 16th at 8 am PT on Twitter by following and using the hashtag #Winophiles. If you scroll to the bottom of this piece you will find links to my colleagues articles on the subject!
Vines have long grown in this region. Historical evidence of vineyards dates to 582. In the 12th century wine got serious with the Saint-Satur Augustine monks, though at that time it was primarily Pinot Noir.
Phylloxera took out the Pinot Noir during the outbreak in the late 1800s and Sauvignon Blanc was planted, the clay and limestone white soils being particularly well suited to this variety.
The region covers almost 7,500 acres.
Chavignol is a hamlet just west of the village of Sancerre. It is famous for its goat cheese Crottini-de-Chavignol. You can see the Kimmeridgian limestone & marl here, that fantastic soil that also runs through Champagne and Chablis. Within Chavignol you find the famed lieux-dits of Les Monts Damnés and Le Cul de Beaujeu. The vignerons here take great pride in their village and are happy to add it to their label. Before the Sancerre appellation was created in 1936 Chavignol was the name they used on their labels.
I found a bottle of Pascal Thomas Chavignol at Total Wine. Finding more information proved difficult. The company Wine at Home gave me a little bit of insight with their information on this wine. Calling Pascal Thomas “one of Sancerre’s most respected growers” and mentions that he farms his tiny plots on steep hillsides. The grapes are hand harvested.
Another site listed him as 70 years old. When I searched online Google found the business, with a photo of a tasting room in Chavignon as permanently closed. I could find nothing further. The import company Asgram, has no website and I could find but one photo of a bottle of Pascal Thomas wine on their Instagram page.
So, it will remain a bit of a mystery!
2021 Pascal Thomas Sancerre Chavignol
The wine was a 2021 Pascal Thomas Sancerre Chavignol. Pale lemon with a medium intensity nose, that was rich with stone fruit, meyer lemon, blossom and chalk. On the palate it had high acid with unripe peach and bright lemon. ($34.99 Total Wine – 13% abv)
Pairing Sancerre with Thai Food
We decided to pair this wine with Thai Takeout. We are lucky to have one of the best Thai restaurants in Las Vegas, just 5 minutes from our house. Sancerre is noted for going well with green vegetables summer rolls and Madeline at Wine Folly suggested “salt & pepper tofu”.
I placed an order with Lemongrass & Lime and we had a feast for lunch, while catching up on the Tour de France. (shout out to the Swirling Dervish – Lauren Walsh for getting me completely hooked on the Tour!)
Our feast paired the wine with summer & spring rolls, salt & pepper shrimp, tofu Garlic Pepper and Pad Thai Noodles with Shrimp.
Typically I would recommend Riesling to pair with Thai food, as it tempers the spice, but we go light on spices these days anyway, so I knew the Sancerre would be fine. It was a good pairing, not a great pairing. I jotted down notes that said “nice with” for most everything. I did note that I really enjoyed it with the garlic pepper tofu, which was on a bed of broccoli and cooked with soy sauce. I also found that the slight sweetness of the Pad Thai, made the wine very tart.
Next time I think I will search for some Crottin de Chavignol to enjoy it with!
The French #Winophiles
My colleagues explore Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire Valley and Beyond. Since this wine is grown all over the world, there will be wines from everywhere!
- Camilla is making cool “Vietnamese Summer Rolls with a Sauvignon Blanc from the Pays de la Loire” at Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Wendy is whipping up a “Shrimp Bisque and a Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux” at A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Jane is touring and “Tasting Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé” at Always Ravenous
- Jeff is is preparing a special “Surprise! Sauvignon Blanc from Bourgogne” at Food Wine Click!
- Gwendolyn is “Comparing 2 French Sauvignon Blanc: Loire vs Bordeaux with Grilled Pesto Stuffed Chicken” at Wine Predator
- Katrina is sharing a glass of “Let’s Give Some Love to French Sauvignon Blanc… From Bordeaux” at The Corkscrew Concierge
- Linda shares “Holy snails! A summer Sauv Blanc worth sipping slowly” at My Full Wine Glass.
- Deanna is frying “Sole Meuniere Paired with Sancerre” at Wineivore
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
We do enjoy French Sauvignon but don’t drink a lot of it and typically do choose Sancerre and Pouilly Fume…love learning more about Chavignol and in particular the introduction to Pascal Thomas wines!
I often pass on Sauvignon Blanc for less known varieties as we strive to always be exploring, but I do love a nice Sav Blanc. I love how it retains its character where ever it goes and then adds other nuances. Those from France always seem a bit more mature and subtle, while others in CA or NZ can be a bit bolder. I like the differences and the options. We just had some beautiful Sauvignon Blancs in Santa Barbara this past week!
Even if its not a perfect paring, I do love the use of the Sancerre here.
Thanks Kat! I had picked a different Sancerre to use here that suggested pairing with Thai dishes. Sadly they sold out of it, before I grabbed a bottle. I thought about changing my pairing last minute to specifically go with the Pascal Thomas wine, and decided to just see how it went. I did not dislike the pairing, it just didn’t sing as much as I had hoped. But it is a fine alternative to Riesling for pairing with these dishes.
We stayed in Chavignol when we made a brief visit to the area, lovely little town. It was fall and walking around the village I could smell the wines fermenting (coming out of the cellars in the village)!
That sounds like heaven!
We love Sancerre and Crottin de Chavignol. One trip some time ago (before this round) we stayed in Sancerre and hiked from there to the edge of Chavignol in a big loop, up over and through vineyards. You could smell the cheese when we passed a huge goat farm and chevré producer. Highly recommend grabbing a baguette (or some really good bread), tomato, cucumber and a Crottin and make that your dinner!
“Tips for Visiting Sancerre!” I love this Lynn! A hike in beautiful landscape with wine and cheese for lunch! This little hamlet sounds wonderful!
I love how you experiment with pairings and taste sensations. Some are bound to be winners, and others less so. But when all is said and done, I guess it’s hard to go wrong with Sancerre.
Indeed! It wasn’t an epiphany pairing, but don’t get me wrong, it was not bad at all! I mean, how can you be unhappy with Sancerre in your glass?
As a fan of Sauvignon Blanc and goat cheese, I guess I need to visit Chavignol, hike per Lynn, and have a picnic of Sauvignon Blanc, Crottini-de-Chavignol, baguette, and vine-ripened tomatoes. I am so ready!
I know! Lynn has me daydreaming of a stroll there now!
Who would have guessed that you could find such a unique wine from a little town at Total Wine? I think small production wines are my favorite ones to taste along with lots of food! I want to try garlic pepper tofu with Sancerre! and soy sauce! Love the adevnturous pairing ideas and fab photos from the region and menu. I was admittedly very excited when I saw you were participating in this month’s exploration! 🙂
Thanks so much, Deanna! I was surprised to find this wine also! I wish I could have found more information on Pascal Thomas himself! I have to admit, I was so excited about take-out from Lemongrass and Lime and I was excited about the wine, so if it wasn’t the “perfect” pairing, I was still pretty happy. I did really like the garlic pepper tofu with the wine. We also had a salt & pepper calamari dish the other day that would have been amazing with this wine!
Now I’m hungry for Thai. I didn’t realize that Sancerre was always Sauv Blanc. Thanks for the lesson.