February 11, 2005

Cour-Cheverny? White Wine No One's Ever Heard Of

Well, a few people have heard of it. Francois Cazin might head the list. He's the Frenchman behind the best Cour-Cheverny I've tasted. Add Joe Dressner and Denyse Louis, the pair behind Louis/Dressner Selections, which imports Cazin's "Le Petit Chambord" wines to the US. I had previously tasted Cazin's regular Cheverny, apparently made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. It can be a crisp, delicious white wine. But the subject here is Cazin's Cour-Cheverny, made exclusively from the obscure Romorantin grape found in this part of the Touraine.

I first came upon the 1999 Le Petit Chambord "Cour-Cheverny" Vendanges Manuelles two years ago. The 1999 vintage in the Loire valley has essentially been panned by even some of the most dedicated lovers of Loire whites. But this wine shows once more how limiting vintage generalizations can be. Yes, the conditions for winemaking were challenging. But this wine exemplifies how every vintage produces worthy wine. On release this Cour-Cheverny seemed like a mix of Chenin Blanc, with a nice lemon, honey, and straw aroma and flavor, and Riesling, with a hint of petrol on the aroma. After some bottle age, the wine now shows even more petrolly, oily character of a top Riesling, with a more intense honeyed note than before. This is Romorantin. Fragrant wine that shows a variety of scents over time, light bodied but full flavored with a persistent, crisp finish that refreshes the palate. My only quibble is a sense of dilution in the wine, though it makes me think of beautiful music that could be better still if it were a touch louder. The cost for this wine in 2003 was just $10. Now, with the US dollar down sharply against the Euro, you might expect to pay a bit more for a current vintage. But what a splendid wine, well worth looking for and certainly still a huge bargain in handmade, off the beaten path wine.


Anonymous said...

I'm sick of all these wine blogs!

Anyhow, it is spelled Cour-Cheverny.

Please drop the "g."

For Romorantin's Sake!

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thank you anonymous, I wouldn't be anywhere without you.

But are you comparing Romorantin to god? I wouldn't go that far. God's too mysterious.

SFJoe said...

Hmmm, I think I recognize anonymous' style.

In any case, keep your eyes peeled for a rerelease of the excellent 1996. It's almost ready to drink.


Anonymous said...

Hi, it is me again. Anonymous.

Does this mean that Vincent, SF Joe and myself are the only three people on the web writing about wine?

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thank you anonymous. I can always count on your faithful readership in this otherwise desolate part of the web.

Actually, I think there are just two wine writers on the web, you and I. SFJoe I believe makes his name in the mycological part of the web, under the nom de keyboard "SeaRanchHound."

Please come again.

Peter Finkelstein said...

Don't forget that I'm also here!

I'm now running a retail shop in Andover, Malyand. I now this is a bitg change from wholeslae, but I love the contact with the comsumer.

I used to go to Portland to visit important retailers and know I've joined thier ranks!

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Thank you Peter, another faithful reader. I am familiar with your prior connection to World Shippers. Please come back again.

Andrew said...

only three wine writers?? you jest... for blogs alone look at


Vincent Fritzsche said...


Of course you are right. I think he meant 3 readers, which is about right. Though you might be number 4. Thank you. Maybe I should follow my own lead here and insitute a numbering hierarchy whereby longtime readers and participants have more senior titles and lower numbers than common newcomers, who everyone knows are junior types and must have high numbers. And yet, perhaps I should first refine my sycophantist tendencies before proceeding. Stay tuned.

Peter Finkelstein said...

I just looked at Tom Wank's blog and he blames Jonathan Nossiter for the recent bombings in France. This Wank is demented! He ought to be banned from the blogging community for such right-wing, McCarthyite frothing.

Peter Finkelstein said...

What happened to all my comments?

I just posted a note on the Parker board, on Roben Garr's Board telling everyone how you're a small-time blogger who censors his readership!

Can it be that you share Dressner's anti-semitic prejadices?

Anonymous said...

When I was a really-not-so-troubled youth, a friend would occasionally put 4 or 5 bees, hornets, wasps, etc, in a mason jar to pass a long summer afternoon. They would buzz around inside the jar, constantly bumping into each other, clearly sure that the entire universe was within those glass walls. Then, they'd begin to kill and bite the heads off each other until just one remained. This blog brings back those memories quite clearly.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

That was me! I used to do that. Another trick my father taught me was to hollow out a cork and, after putting a live bug inside, place pins vertically at each end like prison bars. Then take more pins and skewer them through the middle until the bug stops moving. Makes you really feel like a man.

Anonymous said...

Even if you're a girl?

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Oh, I didn't get that you're still a child. I understand now.