“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”Iris Murdoch

That Iris was a smart woman.

And because a glass or two of crisp, bright sauvignon blanc is my most frequent 6pm treat, I thought I’d share with you a few great finds that Ryan Ibsen, from Pasanella & Son, put in my wine basket.

After I told him that I was a die-hard fan of Sancerre, the Loire Valley’s most deliciously fresh and flinty white wine, he said he had something even better for me–the essence and flavor of Sancerre but at half the price.

“Yes, yes, yes! I’m game! Show me the way!” was my very timid reply.

Here’s the key: Sancerre has enjoyed amazing success and garnered much press over the past several decades. As a result, the price-per-bottle has shot through the roof. Meanwhile, very similar wines made in “appellations” (read: specific grape growing regions) just down the road, possess many of the same lovely qualities. Wines from Menetou-Salon, Quincy and Reuilly are neighborhood upstarts that definitely merit a sip at your next girls night or happy hour.  

Domaine de la Commanderie Quincy is a refreshing and especially mineral-driven sauvignon blanc, a stones throw from Sancerre for half the price.

Domaine de Reuilly is situated in AOC Reuilly, a 170 hectare vineyard in the centre of France, close to appellation Sancerre. The vineyard of Domaine de Reuilly extends across a mere 15 hectares.

Domaine Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon is as fine and polished of a Loire Valley sauvignon blanc as we have ever tasted, and at a price still less than far too many inferior Sancerres.