You'll recognize this quaint medieval town, hewn from local white sandstone and set on a hilltop overlooking gentle rolling vineyards, by the wine that bears its name. Though a ways from the Loire Valley proper (it's a stone's throw from the Bourgogne border), Sancerre is dotted with charming villages and smaller family-owned chateaux set among glorious gardens. And there are plenty of wineries, as winemaking here dates back to Gallo-Roman times. The Sancerre appellation is world-famous for its distinctive whites produced from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, which derive their crisp minerality from the flint and limestone terroir. But the more mysterious reds have also gained an enthusiastic following.

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