Pascal Bellier’s Cour-Cheverney 2010, fans of Loire wines will find a lot to like here
If you really want to drink something off the beaten path, dwell no further. Today I tasted for the first time ever wine from the exceedingly rare Romorantin variety only found in one French AOC called Cour-Cheverny, a tiny sub-appellation of Cheverny in the Touraine region of the Loire.
Legend tells that this grape variety was first planted in the early 16th Century by King Francis I near the castle of Romorantin. It was the home of his mother and the grape was named after her castle. The Romorantin variety is listed as an offspring of the ‘Pinot fin Teinturier’ and ‘Gouais Blanc’. Cour-Cheverney is the only area to my knowledge that produces wines from the Romorantin. Although the Romorantin grape was once widely grown throughout the Loire Valley, today her vineyard area is limited to 50 hectares. Cour-Cheverney received full AOC status in 1993 and AOC rules dictate that her wines must be made from 100% Romorantin.
The AOC Cour-Cheverney 2010 I tasted came from Domaine Pascal Bellier. Pascal Bellier is one of the leading wine makers in Cheverny and frequent Guide Hachette Coup de Coeur winner. In his 40-hectare estate in Vineuil Pascal successfully combines traditional and modern winemaking practices to produce excellent wines.
Pascal Bellier’s Cour-Cheverney 2010 was quite a surprise and a delicious one too. The lemon yellow colour emphasises e certain youthfulness that comes back in a crisp, freshness on the palate. Nose of almond, white fruit and flowers. It is an elegant wine that can age up to 5 years (I was told the colour becomes gold after some aging) while it develops flavour characteristics like acacia and honey. Now it still had a steely roundness, good texture, fruity acidity with some distinct aromas of grapefruit, ripe apple or apple cider and an intensely minerality reminiscent of the very best Touraine wines or, when we think a bit further, a good Chablis. Fans of those kinds of wines will find a lot to like here.