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1st Aug 2018

Before it was blown away by Cloudy Bay, Sancerre was the trendy wine of the 1980s; lately it has made something of a comeback, driven by a significant improvement in quality over recent years, and growers focusing on producing wines reflecting the terroir, with chalk and flint among the citrussy, minerally and even salty flavours which give the wine its complexity.

That name and that quality comes at a price, though, and there are still (sadly) mediocre examples to be had on lesser restaurant wine lists.

However, head southwest to Spain’s Atlantic coast, and you will find another wine list staple, Albariño, which offers flavours on the same spectrum: minerality (from granite rather than chalk), acidity, that saltiness again, combined with orange peel and a slight earthy note. 

With age, it also shares a honeyed edge with Sancerre, and can be a refreshing and wallet-pleasing alternative to Loire-based Sauvignon.