This type of terroir consists of fragments of coarse Kimmeridgian limestone that give way in some areas to softer Oxfordian limestone that produces finer fragments known as griottes or very fine fragments called grous which are wind deposits.
Oxfordian limestone from the Jurassic Period is found in the form of a bed of white stones that are flat as they were shattered by frost. Rain washed the surface earth away, leaving the little stones or caillottes that are so characteristic of Sancerre’s hills visible at the surface.
Wines produced from grapes grown in this type of soil are nervous, fruity and pure. They may be enjoyed immediately (between 1 and 2 years). They give aromatic structure and freshness when part of a blend.
Located higher up the slope from the caillottes, the soil in these vineyards consists of Kimmeridgian marls. These formations are found at the top of some hills and on the main slopes. This type of soil is extremely rich in shellfish fossils and has the distinctive characteristic of turning white when it dries, hence its local name, les terres blanches (white earth).
The wines produced from grapes grown in this type of terroir are soft and full of aromatic finesse. They require more time to acquire all of their character (at least one year) and can be kept for several years. As part of a blend, they often provide the backbone of the wine due to their complexity and power.
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