Critical Acclaim: (2020 vintage) "Bright straw colour with a green hue. Spicy nose offering white pepper, fresh herbs, melon and citrus notes. The palate shows good bite and extract, flavour intense in a medium body with peppery fruit notes, good character and length." - 90/100, Andreas Larsson
“The smaller enclave of Cour-Cheverny, however, is something very different indeed; it allows only for white wines made solely from Romorantin. Forty years ago this variety was much more prominent in this part of the Loire Valley, but in the years that have since passed it has retreated somewhat. Today, Cour-Cheverny is its last strong foothold in the region. There are a handful of domaines still working with the variety, and without a doubt one of the best is François Cazin.” - Chris Kissack
Taste: Aromas of quince, fresh citrus, and gently tropical fruits like starfruit and galangal, alongside a smattering of fresh herbs and white pepper. The palate is both fresh and rich, balancing on a lingering mineral finish and mimicking the aromas found on the palate quite well. The fruit on the palate turns toward freshly picked apricot, which is quite pleasurable, noticeable on the middle and finish of the palate. Lovely!
Pairing: Soft cheeses, as well as appetizer and fresh salad fare. Other fantastic, more substantial options include Bresse chicken with morel mushrooms, scallops, shrimp, white fish served baked, grilled or roasted, mushroom in cream sauces (we’re sharing a delicious recipe below for Chicken with Mixed Mushrooms and Cream by Amanda Hesser), veal, pastas or risotto both served with citrus accents or earthy, mushroomy elements.
Chicken With Mixed Mushrooms and Cream
By Amanda Hesser
From the importer, Louis Dressner. Let us tell you how we met François Cazin. In the early 1990's, Joe Dressner and David Lillie (then working as the Loire buyer for Garnet Wine and Liquors) would travel each winter to attend the Salon des Vins de Loire. That fateful winter, the two had set out to find a producer from the recently created Cheverny appellation. Both started from opposite sides of the stand and tasted through every producer there. After comparing notes, the only wines both had truly enjoyed were François'. They approached him once more, this time together to ask if he'd be interested in having his wines imported to the United States. Here we are, nearly 30 years later and still working together.
Created in 1993, Cheverny is one of the most recent appellations in the Loire Valley. The area, south of the Loire and abutting the marshy region of Sologne (the best hunting grounds in France), has produced wines since the 6th century. The soils consist of various combinations of clay, limestone and silica. Many varietals are planted: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet and Côt for red wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin and Menu Pineau for the whites.
Cazin tends vines of considerable age and the resulting yields are well below average in any given year. His Cheverny is fresh and floral, with appley-texture and crisp acidity. The flavors are sleek and precise. Since 1997, the wine has been bottled unfiltered by gravity. His wines have consistently been the top pick of the vintage at the annual Loire Valley wine show in Angers. By legislation, a Cheverny wine has to be a blend of varietals and Cazin’s white is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay.
Cazin also makes a cuvée of Cour-Cheverny, exclusively from the ancient local grape Romorantin. This varietal, with its high acidity and minerality, can be angular and rough. But in the right hands, it achieves high ripeness and the wine has astonishing grapey, apricot and roasted nuts flavors, kept fresh and lively by good acidity. In very ripe vintages, when the grapes undergo passerillage or noble rot, Cazin vinifies some of his Romorantin off-dry, calling it "Cuvée Renaissance". A considerably smaller amount of red wine is also produced from Pinot Noir and Gamay.
Harvest Report 2020
François Cazin gives the 2020 Vintage a Perfect Score
You can give 2020 a score of 20/20.
Following in the continuity of 2018 and 2019, the vegetal cycle launched very early at the beginning of March and was followed by the “shiver” of our usual spring frost, this year to no grave consequence. This meant the potential for a full crop was in view for the entirety of the estate. Flowering took place in excellent condition and there was a total absence of mildew.
Our soil work in the spring went off beautifully without a hitch. It was very helpful and permitted our soils to retain the water they needed to get through the very hot, dry summer. Finally, a vintage with no major climactic disasters: it makes us hope this is still possible.
It was a generous crop for the whites, high potentials but enough acidity (you can taste a nice freshness as the fermentations finish). Yields are a little lower than we’d hoped on the reds (25 to 30hl/h) as they suffered more from the heat and drought.
The Pinot Noir is very rich and concentrated. All the Gamay will be vinified as red and we’ve reserved the parcel of Côt for the rosé, which will be blended with a little
A special note about Romorantin: maturities are skyrocketing for this grape. We harvested everything from September 20th to the 30th. The quality is superb, with excellent yields of 45 hl/h. It’s going to be a very promising year for this grape; great freshness (most notably on the old vines) and a great "Renaissance" to look forward to.
This wine. 100% Romorantin. Cour Cheverny has only existed as an AOC since 1997; François Cazin was instrumental in the drive to establish it to save this ancient local variety. The Cazin vines are planted on clay-limestone soils; some go all the way back to 1928. The farming is sustainable and the harvest by hand. The bunches are direct-pressed and the wine fermented in steel tank with native yeasts. It is aged on its lees without stirring in 23-25-hectoliter foudres for 6 months, followed by some months in underground vats and bottling by gravity with a light filtration a year after the vintage. There are usually a few grams of residual sugar, though they are easy to miss, given the high natural acidity of Romorantin. "Le Petit Chambord" is the historical name of the property and appears on all of its labels.
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