2011 Pascal Janvier Jasnières
Vigneron by way of butcher, Pascal Janvier is one of those souls destined to make wine, despite himself. Fortunately, he wisened up at age thirty and yielded to his inevitable fate. Today, Pascal and his wife Dominique farm a total of nine hectares in the department of the Sarthe in the Val du Loir, a tiny, stony hillside along the Loir River (a tributary of the Loire River), north of Vouvray that is also the most northerly--and coldest--of the regions of the Loire. The Janviers almost single-handedly brought back the appellation of Jasnieres from extinction (even today, less than 200 ha remain under vine), and it's a good thing they did because Janvier's Jasnieres productions are some of France's best kept white wine secrets. The wines of Jasnieres are known for lively fruit coupled with naturally racy acidity and pronounced mineral character; food-friendly but with tremendous ageing potential. The Chenin destined for this bottling comes from 35-40 year-old vines planted to parcels featuring clay and limestone soils. It is redolent with classic Jasnieres tangy apple and citrus aromas and flavors, features white flower and almost saline mineral undertones and a pure core of fruit, with excellent length and focus on the finish. If you have an appreciation for complex white wines with a sense of place and are as yet unfamiliar with Jasnieres--or the wines of this talented vigneron--one sip of this and you will swoon.