2021 Domaine Jourdan Chinon Varesnes
Pronounced var-renne, this cuvée comes from roughly six acres on the plain, where the heavier clay soils give more spice and structure to the wine. The vines are mature, averaging 45-years; the wine ferments in steel and undergoes around 14 months of aging in concrete vats. A serious wine of immense depth and drive that will be good for a long, long time.
We are huge fans of Chinon, the gold standard appellation for the world’s best Cabernet Franc and the Loire Valley’s most famous red. The best Chinon are Old World classics that stand as wonderful counterpoints to New World examples of the grape. They accentuate aromatics and finesse, always, over texture and power. When old vines and inspired winemaking come together, like they do at this august address, a great Chinon can not only impress for its youthful verve and elegance, but can effortless age a decade or longer. Domaine Jourdan is relatively new as producers in Chinon go, as the Jourdans only moved to the Loire in 2012, but they took over one of the region’s most venerable estates that had over four generations of experience behind it. They converted the family estate into all organic farming and added a minuscule parcel of Chenin Blanc to their vineyard holdings to create one of the very rare cuvees of Chinon Blanc you can find. This cuvee of red is called Varesnes. Pronounced var-renne, it hails from roughly six acres of 45-year old vines on the benchland up from the river where the heavier clay soils give more spice, white pepper and structure to the finished wine. The Jourdans ferment the Cabernet Franc grapes in steel and age it another 14 months in concrete vats so wood is never a factor. What is, though, is fruit, and we just love the lilting violet-tinged plum and blueberry fruit essence of this lithe and elegant wine. White quite serious, with immense depth and drive, decanting for air also reveals a sense of prettiness and immediate charm we find captivating all on its own, although anyone who loves their Chinon knows how well it goes with a garlicy, herby roasted leg of lamb. Its svelte tannins, though, also make it a surprisingly wonderful partner with dishes like grilled salmon, miso-glazed cod and other richer fish preparations. We also have a single case of the Jourdan’s Chinon Blanc, a rarity coming from a single acre of Chenin Blanc planted in 2013. This vineyard, La Croix Boissee, is one of the most famous in Chinon and was the first site recognized as a single vineyard in the appellation. Spontaneously fermented in aged in a few neutral casks, it’s a dry Chenin with impressive lift and minerality. We’d tell you more but with only a case to sell, we don’t want to fan the flames under this too much! But do add a bottle or two to your case of the Jourdans’ delicious Chinon Rouge!