Spotlight on the wines of Cheverny
By Marco Giovanetti
The Cheverny wine appellation in France’s Loire Valley is one of the quite achievers of the wine industry in that country. While it does not enjoy the fame of nearby Sancerre or Pouilly Fume some of the wines produced here are interesting to give it a try and seek out
It is situated just south of the town of Blois and east of the city of Tours in between the Loire River and the Cher.
Cheverny covers 24 communes and approximately 350 hectares. It is located on the edge of flat plains between the Loire and Cher rivers and covers the communes of Candé-sur-Beuvron, Cellettes, Cheverny, Chitenay, Cormeray, Cour-Cheverny, Feings, Fougères-sur-Bièvre, Fresnes, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Maslives, Mont-près-Chambord, Monthou-sur-Bièvre, Les Montils, Montlivault, Muides-sur-Loire, Ouchamps, Saint-Claude-de-Diray, Saint-Dyé-sur-Loire, Saint-Laurent-Nouan, Sambin, Seur, Tour-en-Sologne and Vineuil. It was elevated to AOC status in 1993.
The main red grape varieties are Gamay and Pinot Noir with up to 15% of Cabernet Franc and Cot (Malbec). Rose wines are made from Gamay supported by Pineau d’Aunis and Pinot Noir.
White wines must contain between 60% and 85% of Sauvignon Blanc along with some Chardonnay, Menu Pineau and Chenin Blanc.
Not far from Cheverny, there is the appellation of Cour – Cheverny. Cour – Cheverny is a 48 hectare wine zone in the north east of Tours. The vineyards are scattered in small parcels over 11 communes in the Loir-et-Cher département (Cellettes, Cheverny, Chitenay, Cormeray, Cour-Cheverny, Huisseau-sur-Cosson, Mont – près – Chambord, Montlivault, Saint-Claude-de-Diray, Tour-en-Sologne and Vineuil).
It is a young appellation that was created in 1993. It is of some interest to wine enthusiasts as only white wine is produced from the little known Romorantin grape.This grape has grown in the Loire Valley since the sixteenth century. Introduced to the Loire Valley in 1519 by then King Francois I, the grape was named after the nearby commune of Romorantin-Lanthenay, the king’s own home town. And yet, for such a prestigious beginning, Romorantin didn’t take hold. Once widely planted throughout the Loire Valley, the grape gradually receded into oblivion, making the little-known appellation of Cour-Cheverny its tiny, and exclusive, homeland
It makes crisp, acidic, mineral white wines. The grape is also used as a minor element of some wines of Valencay which adjoins the Touraine appellation on its south east border.
Another appellation from the Loire that I discovered and present to you today is the Côte Roannaise. This wine region is actually closer to Beaujolais than the vast majority of the Loire. Location is not the only thing that it has in common with Beaujolais: Gamay is the only permitted varietal grown here and the soils are granite based, both characteristics in common with Beaujolais. In fact, this area is sometimes referred to as the 11th cru of Beaujolais, although the winemakers might beg to differ, preferring to be associated with the Loire. Covering only 220 hectares, it’s no wonder this area isn’t mentioned much. It’s production is tiny by most other French wine regions standards.
The Cour-Cheverny and the Cote Roannaise wines featured in this week’s column were brought to my attention by Luc Robert from Selection Invincible. They were the first ones that imported officially to the SAQ this type of wine. They were stunning wines, as you will see in my tasting notes below. They also import others wines from lesser regions such as the Jura in France. Many thanks Luc.
Please, stay tuned for next week’s wine column where I will be covering my findings on this year’s Raspipav wine salon.
Marco Giovanetti is an Italian-Venezuelan Sommelier. He specializes in European wines but also enjoys emerging wine regions and has over 15 years tasting experience. In addition of The West End Times, Marco writes for the magazine EGF and the city in Madrid, Spain and he is a member of the IFWTWA. Marco enjoys fine wine, literature and films, in addition to teaching about wine. You may contact him at:
Legend of rating
Under 60- Do not
buy. Faulty wine
60-70- Mediocre wine
70-80- All right
80-90- Very good
90-100- Excellent wine.
QPR : Wines that deliver tremendous value for the money paid.Have a good week and happy tasting.
Wines of the week:
Benoit Daridan Cour-Cheverny Vieilles vignes 2011. Price : $24.25 SAQ CODE : 11953325
On the nose the wine reveals lemon, a hint of dried hay, a subtle note of gasoline, and chalk. In the mouth, the wine is dry and with flavours that remind me of minerals, green apples and almonds. Clean with long lingering finish. 95\100 QPR
Food Match: Soft cheeses. Steamed Shellfish.
Domaine Vincent Willenbucher Vieilles Vignes Côte Roannaise 2012. Price : $20.35. SAQ CODE : 11666393
On the nose, explosive aromas of ripe red and black fruit with a mineral, black pepper and violet layer. In the mouth, medium body with a crispy acidity. Flavors remind me of licorice, and more red fruits. Amazing finale and aftertaste. 95\100 QPR
Food Match: Blood Sausage with French fries.
Le Pressoir Cheverny 2011. Price: $20.25. SAQ CODE: Code SAQ : 11154021
Nice little wine. Pretty aromas of red fruits such as cherry, strawberries, raspberries with a hint of banana and symphony of earthy garden smells. In the mouth, medium body with flavors consistent with the nose. Refreshing and digest, this wine will be amazing with vegetable based dishes. 90\100.