Confusion Corner: Sacy

This is undoubtedly one of the more obscure topics ever to be addressed in Confusion Corner, but nevertheless, it sparked my interest!

Sacy: it’s a grape, it’s a place, it’s a Premier Cru Village in Champagne!

Sacy the grape: Sacy is a rather nondescript white variety, believed to be one of the many offspring of Pinot X Gouis Blanc. It is a high-yield grape known for making lightly flavored, crisply acidic wines with aromas of white flowers, green apples, and yellow pears. Sacy is cultivated mainly in central and northern France—particularly in the Yonne and the surrounding areas between Burgundy and Paris. Plantings of Sacy have declined rather steadily since the 1950’s; while at one time there were close to 700 hectares/1,730 acres planted in France, these days the number is closer to 71 hectares/176 acres.

Sacy-the-grape is allowed to be used in just three of France’s 400-plus AOC wines: Crémant de Bourgogne, Coteaux Bourguignons, and Saint-Pourçain. It is, however, allowed in several of France’s PGI/Vin de Pays appellations, including the Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche, the Vin de Pays du Val de Loire, and the Vin de Pays des Comtés Rhodaniens.

In the Crémant de Bourgogne AOC, Sacy is allowed to be used in just about any amount, provided that at least 30% of the base wine is comprised of Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Noir (in any combination). In the Saint-Pourçain AOC, Sacy is required to comprise at least 20%—but no more than 40%—of the blend, which is dominated (50% to 80%) by Chardonnay.

Sacy can be used without limits in the Coteaux Bourguignons AOC, provided the vines were planted prior to July 31, 2009. One must—however—dig pretty deep in order to find out how Sacy is allowed to be used in the wines of the Coteaux Bourguignons AOC. This factoid is not listed in the “approved varieties” at the top of the appellation’s list of rules and regulations (the Cahier des Charges); but is rather tucked into the fine print of the document (specifically, in Article XI—Measures Transitoires). Domaine Gueguen, located in Chablis, is one of the few wineries to produce a 100% Sacy bottled under the Coteaux Bourguignons AOC.

For some reason, Sacy appears to have taken its name from a village in Champagne. The grape goes by several other names as well, including Aligoté Vert, Plant de Sacy, and Tressallier. Tressallier—a term derived from beyond the Allier—is the name used in the Saint-Pourçain AOC, which just happens to be located to the west of the Allier River.

Sacy the place: Sacy is a small town/commune/village (population: 375) located about an hour-and-a-half drive (heading east/northeast) from Paris. The best place to stay in town (imho) is the beautiful Château de Sacy—built in the mid-1850’s by Pierre Louis Gosset (one of the area’s most famous architects) and proudly standing as one of the few remaining residences built before WWI.

When you are in Sacy-the-small-town, you are smack-dab in the middle of the Champagne District—it is less than a 20-minute drive to Reims—so your obvious choice of activities will involve vineyard-wandering and touring wine estates. Champagne producers located in Sacy include Champagne Wafflart Briet, Blin-Dezautez Gérard, Damien Dumez, and Champagne Duménil. These can all easily be reached from the Château de Sacy (and each other) via taxi—or, if you are feeling fit, you could walk (round-trip, the loop is only about 2.6 km/1.6 miles).

Map of Sacy via Bing Maps

Sacy the Premier Cru Village in Champagne: Sacy (the small town/village) has the honor of being one of the 40-plus Premier Cru villages in Champagne, and one of 25 located in the Montagne de Reims. Sacy is surrounded on three sides by other Premier Cru Villages: Ville-Dommange to the north, Écueil to the south, and Bezannes to the west.

Keep in mind that—however disjointed it may seem…Sacy-the-grape is not allowed to be used in the wines of the Champagne-Sacy Premier Cru AOC (or any other wines of the Champagne District).

Other Sacys: The term “Sacy” is used in other contexts as well. It shows up in the name of a well-regarded Champagne Estate—Louis De Sacy Champagne—located in the town of Verzy (about 19 km/12 miles from Sacy). It may also refer to Antoine Issac Silvestre de Sacy (a French scholar and nobleman, 1758-1838); a Brazilian soccer player (full name: Gustavo Rossi); or as an acronym for “School Age Children and Youth.” Go Sacy!

References/for more information:

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

One Response to Confusion Corner: Sacy

  1. Pingback: Five Fast Facts about Saint-Pourçain | The Bubbly Professor

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