From: Loire Valley, France
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Taste: This Chenin Blanc is exotically perfumed, racy, slightly honeyed, and packed with minerality. It bears the unique signatures of its cool, stony terroir of clay, limestone, and flint, making it an unmistakable product of Jasnières. The guava, flowers, citrus, clove, and gunflint in its aroma profile make this wine fascinating and versatile. This versatility makes it the ideal companion to an array of dishes, from simple fresh goat cheeses and buttery fish preparations to more exotic Southeast Asian and Central American dishes.
Pairing: Pairing Pascal Janvier’s Jasnières is an adventure in itself, its freshness and minerality making it an excellent match for fish, shellfish, poultry, and veal. Almond grilled trout (check out the fish almondine recipe below), vermicelli bowls, Asian-style chicken salad, and risotto with fresh produce or artichokes are just a few suggestions. But regardless of what you pair it with, one thing is certain: with Pascal Janvier’s Jasnières, you’re in for an unforgettable gastronomic journey, from the first sip to the last. So here’s a toast to the butcher-turned-vintner and the delightful, affordable wine that he has given us. Bon appétit and cheers to Pascal Janvier!
Roasted White Fish With Lemony Almondine
By Melissa Clark
About. It’s been said that the best things in life come from unexpected beginnings. Take the story of Pascal Janvier, for example, who, at the tender age of thirty, found himself steeped in the world of butchery, his hands honed for preparing meats rather than tending to vines. Little did he know that his journey would take him from the chopping board to the vintner’s barrels, from aspiring butcher to becoming a name synonymous with extraordinary wines.
Indeed, twenty years ago, the picture of Pascal in a remote corner of France, honing his butcher's skills was easy to imagine. It was a scenario that held so much promise – a young butcher deeply invested in the traditions of food and wine that could very well have been the subject of a Bill Buford narrative of rural French life. But in the world we inhabit, Pascal Janvier chose to take the road less traveled. He exchanged his butchery knife for vine clippers, his salami for a bottle of wine, and a remote butcher’s shop for an equally remote vineyard. And so, in our reality, we find ourselves with one of the world’s great off-the-beaten-path domaines, where quality and affordability marry in a blissful matrimony that dances on our taste buds.
Pascal’s venture into wine was no simple leap of faith. He didn’t inherit acres of prime grape-growing land, but rather, vines situated on the colder, lesser-known tributary of the Loire - the Loir. This challenging terroir – a place where ripening grapes is notoriously difficult, and a region that had seen a significant reduction in vineyards following the war – could have easily turned away less determined vintners. But Pascal, with a mere 10% of the Loir’s 100 hectares of productive vines at his disposal, predominantly in the Loire AOC of Jasnières, was not to be deterred.
The detail-oriented obsession that would have marked Pascal as a top-tier butcher was instead channeled into wine production. Over the years, he has mastered the art of crafting wines that shine with the uniqueness of their terroir. His discovery that some vines grow in soils rich with silex, the local flint, was a game-changer, as this is a characteristic of some of the most respected Chenin Blanc vineyards in the Loire, including Huet’s Le Mont and Foreau in Vouvray.
Starting slowly, he and his wife, Dominique, breathed life back into the vineyards of Jasnières, reminding the world of what these nearly extinct appellations could produce. Their “Cuvée du Silex” parcel – named for the distinctive flint found in the soil – produces a crisp Chenin Blanc that offers notes of gunpowder amid the beautiful aromas and complexities of the wine.
The Jasnières region, while a subzone within the Coteaux du Loir, consistently produces more white wine than its larger counterpart, a testament to its superior terroir. The wines from Jasnières can range from bone dry and steely to incredibly sweet, honey-scented, and botrytized. Although they might lack the richness and finesse of better-known wines such as Savennières and Vouvray, the best examples of Jasnières, like Pascal Janvier's, can age well for 15 years or more.
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