Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A visit at the Domaine des Huards in Cour-Cheverny

The Château La Gagnotterie, where we organized our family reunion, is located in the Loire Valley appellation of Cheverny. This appellation, south of the Loire river at Blois, produces a wide range of wines from Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Pinot Noir for the reds, and Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin blanc for the whites. Cheverny has also a small sub-appellation called Cour-Cheverny that had been specifically created for wines made from the little-known but interesting Romorantin grape.

So Monday morning after the party, we decided to drive to the tiny village of Cour-Cheverny and pay a visit to one of the best producers for the Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny appellations, the Domaine des Huards.

Cabernet vines at the entrance of the Domaine des Huards

The domaine covers 32 hectares including 8 hectares planted exclusively with Romorantin. The soil is mostly clay and chalk with a layer of sand in some areas. The estate is certified biodynamic, banning weed killers and chemical fertilisers in order to keep the microbiological diversity of the vineyard.

Tasting at the Domaine des Huards

We tasted different Cour-Cheverny cuvées as well as their Cheverny reds. Here are my notes:

• 2002 Cour-Cheverny Domaine des Huards: 100% Romorantin. Light color, mineral, herbal, crisp. One of the few wines that could be paired with asparagus.

• 2002 Cour-Cheverny Domaine des Huards Cuvée François 1er: 100% Romorantin old vines, the oldest planted in 1922. Bright golden color, nutty nose with hint of hay, crisp, full and complex mouthfeel, long mineral finish, ageworthy.

• 2005 Cheverny Domaine des Huards: Gamay 55% Pinot Noir 30% Cabernet Franc 10%. Deep red purple color, gamay nose, peppery , floral notes of peony, light-bodied, balanced palate.

• 2005 Cheverny Domaine des Huards Cuvée Le Pressoir: Pinot Noir 80% Gamay 20%. Garnet color, red berry nose, raspberry notes, lively finish.

• 2004 Cheverny Domaine des Huards Cuvée Jean-François Deniau: Pinot Noir 50% Gamay 40% Cabernet Franc 10%. Floral peony nose, fuller palate, long finish of licorice.

• 2004 Cour-Cheverny Domaine des Huards Cuvée J. M. Tendresse: 100% Romorantin demi-sec, late harvest style. Light golden color, delicate nose, flavors concentrated on the palate, nutty, herbal finish.

All these wines were delicious but I really liked the cuvée François 1er (I bought half a case to cellar) and the serious but very food friendly cuvée Jean-François Deniau.

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Marcus said...

Romorantin revolution! I just had the Huards 2001 Romorantin and Brooklynguy posted yesterday about a Cour-Cheverny from Cazin.

I don't think my 2001 was as good as your 2002s.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time in France. Welcome back.

Catherine Granger said...

Thanks Marcus! I am looking forward to trying the vieilles vignes again in a few years...