Monday, November 19, 2007

Treasure in Plain Sight

I really shouldn't give away my secrets, but...

Sometimes great wine treasures are sitting right there in plain sight, cheap, accessible, waiting to be purchased. Francois Cazin's Cour-Cheverny Loire Vally white is one such undeserved wallflower.

Cheverny is a fairly recent appellation in the Loire Valley. It was formed in 1991. It's in the Touraine area, due east of Vouvray. They plant a lot of stuff there, but this wine is made from the rare Romorantin grape. One of the only wines you'll find made from this grape.

The first time I had this wine—either a recommendation from Smith and Vine or an industry tasting—I thought, "Well, that's a very nice, well-made wine, very nice indeed, for $15," not realizing I was condescending to the wine. Last weekend, I bought a bottle of the new vintage and opened it with a friend. His eyes lit up. And I thought, "Damn! This is a great wine! And at $15? What am I doing? Why don't I have a case of this? It's perfect for everything."

The Cour-Cheverny is a light to medium-bodied wine, with great acidity and minerality. A clear, steely yet welcoming wine that knows its mind and doesn't try to impress, yet does impress with its quiet greatness. There are vegetal and eucalyptus notes, with citrus and grape tastes up front. It's an unshowy, suberb piece of work. And it's right there. I see it on the shelf of more fine wine stores in NYC. Easy to get. $15! But it has an unfamiliar name and no varietal on the label, so people pass it by. Don't. Get it.


Anonymous said...

I really think it is great that you are drawing attention to the wines of Cazin, which surely deserve it. I would only mention that there is a difference between Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny, and that the grape varieties involved are different.

Robert Simonson said...

Yes, I'm aware. I haven't had the pleasure of trying the Cheverny yet, just the Cour-Cheverny.