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France_Loire_Jasnieres

Jasnieres is a region that is almost thought of as separate to the rest of the Loire Valley as it is so much more north than almost any other appellation. This all Chenin Blanc based appellation has had its fans throughout history often mentioned with Montrachet and Chateau Grillet as the best white wine in France. Locals called it the "Savennieres" of the Touraine with the Chenin here yielding dry, steely, flinty wines that gain great complexity from extended bottle aging. In warm years, the grapes can get botrytis and luscious sweet wines can be made. These are truly remarkable wines but they demand aging. 

One of the smallest appellations in the Loire Valley at only 50 ha, it does take some extra special effort to find any Jasnieres, let alone a great one. To confuse people even more Jasnieres is within an AOC called the Coteaux de Loir which is an area called the Loire. But if you cut through all the confusion and minimal information, you can get great Chenin Blanc on the level of a Huet, Closel or Foreau. 

This assumes that you can get your hands on the wines of Eric Nicolas of the famous Domaine de la Belliviere. Until Eric came along, the region of Jasnieres and the greater area of the Coteaux de Loir were in terrible shape after having barely survived deadly frosts in 1956. Few remained and those that did made pretty spotty wine. Eric Nicolas came in from the city with a passion for wine and bought some vineyards in the Coteaux de Loir and Jasnieres. The land had some ancient vines in it but mostly grazing land dominated so Eric planted a bunch and now has 9 ha. The wines are easily the best of the appellation, which is a small cadre producers at this point.  Fortunately, it is growing and expanding every year. 

Prices start at around $18 and can go to $50 for the top Belliviere Cuvee. Some of the late harvest wines can be more. Inexpensive Jasnieres from Eric Nicolas can be one of the greatest wine values in the world and should not be overlooked by anybody who is serious about wine. 

Notable Recent VIntages: 2010, 2008, 2007, 2004, 2002

Top Producers (in no particular order) include:
  • Domaine de la Belliviere (Eric Nicolas)
  • Domaine de la Charriere (Joel Gigou)
  • Bendicte de Ryke
  • Domaine de Briseau
  • Pascal Janvier
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