As I write these words, the documentary film SOMM is being released around the United States with a great deal of fanfare. While it’s not the first wine movie to gain national attention, this one isn’t a buddy comedy from a well-known filmmaker. It’s a serious and unexpectedly compelling look at wine professionals who are preparing for the Court of Master Sommeliers Diploma Examination. Only 201 people in the world have passed this exam since 1969, which demonstrates the sheer quantity of knowledge and dedication required to “master” wine.
Wine appreciation isn’t just been about tasting, there’s a great deal of study involved as well. Far too often the label tells you nothing about what’s inside the bottle and you’re forced to do the legwork for yourself. This collection for example includes white, rosé, and red wine, each of which has the same one word writ large: Sancerre.
You won’t find most of these wines outside of Le Metro – many people will even try to tell you that Sancerre rosé and rouge don’t exist. But they do, and as you’ll see they’re delicious. Sancerre also has a dark side, and it’s 100% Pinot Noir.
This isn’t the Pinot that the guys in Sideways were drinking; it’s much warmer in Santa Barbara, California than it is in France’s Loire Valley. Lower temperatures in Sancerre lead to lower ripeness levels which in turn result in wines that are light and subtle. They don’t just go well with food, they demand it. So I’ve asked my friend Maurice DiMarino, Wine Director for the Cohn Restaurant Group here in San Diego, to provide some pairing advice for each wine.
As you sample these six wines alongside Maurice’s suggestions, ask yourself: what do they have in common? How do they differ? Each of these bottles is unique, but to me they all taste like Sancerre.
Aaron Epstein, Curator