Cezin Jasnieres: The Beauty of Far Flung Wine
It's amazing how much you can learn just looking at a map.
Today's lesson is on the merits of the far-flung. Pick up your map of France and look at Sancerre. What's that doing way over there, so far to the east of every other wine producing part of the Loire Valley? Obviously they've found something special.
How about Chablis. Is that really part of Burgundy? It's a good two hours drive from the Côte d'Or. There's definitely got to be something special there.
In Europe, where monks and other farmers have been exploiting every acre of land for many centuries, they have figured out what grows best where. When you see wine production in an unlikely place, it's usually a sign that through the centuries-long process of trial and error, they have figured out that it is a special place to produce wine.
Today's special place is to the north of the Loire Valley, on a tributary confusingly named the Loir (our spell check so badly wants to add the "e"). Here, those generations of experimenters discovered that it happens to be a perfect place to grow a grape they call Pineau de la Loire (this time you really do need the "e") but everyone else calls Chenin Blanc.
It's a sub-region that would be completely forgotten, were it not thanks to a small group of vignerons determined to revive it after its near-extinction following WWII. Today's hero is the father/son team of Francois and Xavier Cezin, whose family has been harvesting grapes in these parts since the 1920s.
The Cezins make delightfully fresh Chenin Blanc that is only possible – especially in this day and age of global warming – in this extreme north end of where wine cultivation is possible in western France. The 2021s, especially, offer freshness and plenty of that unique cut of minerality that only Chenin Blanc offers.
Domaine de Cezin Jasnieres Origine 2021 $24.99
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