Wednesday, April 12, 2006

WBW #20: Cour-Cheverny, King Francis the First and Tintin

What is the relationship between Cour-Cheverny, an obscure appellation in the Loire Valley, Francis the First, France's first Renaissance monarch, and Tintin, the Belgian young reporter? You'll see, it's easy!

From the city of Blois in the Loire Valley, if you drive 15 km southeast, you'll find the Château de Cheverny. The castle is famous for being Hergé's model for Moulinsart, the ancestral home of Captain Haddock.

The castle is in the town of Cour-Cheverny, which gave its name to the Cour-Cheverny appellation, an appellation that was created for wines made exclusively from the Romorantin varietal. In fact, Cour-Cheverny is the only appellation in the world that uses Romorantin. According to legend, this rare Burgundian grape was brought by King Francis the First to the region on his way back from Italy in 1519.

Philippe Tessier is one of the few producers that grow Romorantin today. Its Cour-Cheverny cuvée Les Sables is made from old vines planted on light, sandy soil. To keep it bright and fresh, it is fermented in large neutral barrels and does not go through malolactic fermentation. The 2004 Cour-Cheverny Domaine Philippe Tessier Les Sables has a bright straw color and a fresh nose of lemon and grapefruit. On the palate, it is mineral with a snappy acidity balanced by mild nutty flavors. The finish is crisp and citrussy.

I will not claim that Romorantin is as noble a grape as its neighbor Chenin Blanc, but what a refreshing alternative to these far too often boring white wines that you find in the same price range. So let's not forget this unique varietal!

Today was April's Wine Blogging Wednesday and the theme proposed by Bill at Wine for Newbies was single-varietal white wines, but no Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. He has already posted a first roundup. Check it here.

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1 comment:

Lucky13 said...

I believe that Romorantin is one of the great, underappreciated grapes grown today. Hard to find but worth the search.

I hope that the French don't give up on it.