IT’S a long while since I've enjoyed a glass of Sancerre, folks, and that's not because they don't make good ones. In fact, you can't say you love sauvignon blanc if you don't enjoy Sancerre. It's just that I started to flirt with those harlots from New Zealand and I forgot about my earlier loves.

Well, after a recent tasting, I decided it was time to send suck up big style and send flowers to my old fling. Sancerre is the spiritual home of the grape and before we all fell in love with the wines of Marlborough in the 1980s and 90s it was the only sauvignon most wine lovers knew.

The wines of Sancerre are more minerally and chalky than those of Marlborough and the fruit is dialled down significantly, but many of us made the initial mistake of rating the two styles on fruit alone. Yeah, the versions from Marlborough are packed with ripe tropical fruits and display incredible gooseberry aromas but the wines of Sancerre are, for want of a better word, classy.

I know it's difficult to measure class, but it is the difference for me. Perhaps it’s an age thing but I’m getting right into the whole terroir thing that I used to tease the French about. Although it pains me to say it, they were bang on about the difference it can make to a wine. If you want an easy example, get a bottle of chablis and a bottle of unoaked New World chardonnay and taste them side by side.

What can I say, soil rocks and so do the French winemakers.

Bougrier Sancerre

I absolutely love Oddbins' description of this as so "buttock-clenchingly minerally" and I can't improve on that!

Oddbins £17.50

The Society's Exhibition Sancerre

Class, class, class. White flowers and gooseberries on the nose with a chalky palate and enticing hints of lime. Absolutely gorgeous and a cracking partner for most fish dishes.

The Wine Society £17

Gerard Richardson, @gerardfinewine