Even if you haven’t read E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, you might know that wine plays an important supporting role, albeit mostly to help (ahem) lubricate interactions between innocent Ana and bondage-loving Christian.
Grey devotees readily admit that the books make them want to drink as much as have sex—and it’s a sure bet that those fans possess Bollinger Rosé-stained pages (and bed sheets).
Aside from billionaire Christian’s obsession with posh and pricey bubbles, the glorious and tingly whites from Sancerre also hold a special place in the hearts and imaginations of the characters and their fans, who will no doubt swarm to the Fifty Shades of Grey film being released this Valentine’s Day weekend.
Winos love to geek out on the “bracing” and “racy” acidity that makes the white Sauvignon Blanc-based wines of France’s Sancerre region so appealing. The wines have “verve” and “tenacity” and are bolstered by “fresh, bright mineral, and citrus” character. They’re “tart” and sometimes even “mouth-watering,” with “titillating” acidity.
Is it not obvious, then, why Ana and Christian were drinking a bottle of Sancerre over contract negotiations? The intoxicating metaphors practically spill off the page, consuming our imaginations, placating our palates—in the exact way a good Sancerre should. So pick up one of our recommendations, or if you can’t find these specific brands, ask for whatever Sancerre is on the shelf and have fun exploring your own fantasies this Valentine’s Day—shades up or shades down.
Domaine André Vatan 2013 “Les Charmes” Blanc Sancerre, Loire, France ($23)
Is it ever too early on a date to discuss marriage? Test the waters by talking about this husband-and-wife duo—Andre and Arielle Vatan —who work and maintain four vineyards surrounding their winery. Pockets of limestone lend a smoky character to the wine while readily abundant flinty soils yield to the more fruity character—elderflower and fresh-cut grass burst from this wine.
Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy 2013 Sancerre, Loire, France ($26)
Imported by Kermit Lynch, this Sauvignon Blanc produced by Michel Reverdy is considered a great example of a classic, benchmark Sancerre blanc—with notes of gooseberry and lime. Reverdy also produces a red Sancerre (Pinot Noir) that will undoubtedly create moans of memorable pleasure.
Lucien Crochet 2012 “La Croix du Roy” Blanc Sancerre, Loire, France ($30)
Indigenous yeasts, hand-harvesting and aging sur lie, is all standard for the wines made by Giles Crochet, son of Lucien Crochet. This wine is a powerfully structured white with marvelous citrus, chalky character, and verve.
Domaine Vacheron 2013 Sancerre, Loire, France ($33)
Two cousins, Jean-Laurent and Jean-Dominique Vacheron practice biodynamic farming on their vineyards, which rest on silex—flinty soils over a clay and limestone base. The result: mineral, mineral, mineral, and a distinct flinty character in the wine. And without the “i” and “l,” that silex soil is moist with innuendo.
Gerard Boulay 2013 “Les Monts Damnes” Sancerre, Loire, France ($43)
Vines grown on steep slopes, 45 years in age, produce this sophisticated wine that will transform anyone into a polished cosmopolitan, able to proclaim: “winter grass, candied pear, green apple, liquid slate sizzling with bracing acidity.”
Domaine Didier Dagueneau 2010 “Le Mont Damné” Sancerre, Chavignol, France ($117)
For the aspiring billionaire in you, go to town and seek out a few bottles of this ethereal Sancerre by Didier Dagueneau, a winemaker from Pouilly-Fumé in France’s Loire Valley, who at age 52 met his untimely death when his plane crashed near the town of Cognac in 2008.