This past weekend I cracked open a fun wine from the Jasnières region of France. Jasnières, a small AOC in the Loire Valley of France, makes white wines exclusively using the Chenin Blanc grape, also known locally as Pineau de la Loire. Located due north from Vouvray, Jasnières covers 65 hectares (about 160 acres) and is made up of calcareous-clay hillsides.
Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape, producing fine wines in various styles and sweetness levels. The wines of Jasnières, however, are often made dry and are known to age very well.
The 2011 Pascal Janvier Jasnières has sweet red apple and a touch of kirsch on the nose. On the palate are the apple, white peach, sugared grapefruit and under ripe pineapple. On the finish I detect a touch of residual sugar, but with the mouth watering acidity of this wine it is dry on the palate. While smelling and tasting, I kept going back to my childhood with a memory of Sweet Tarts! This wine is Sweet Tarts in a glass!
Pascal Janvier is obviously doing some great things in Jasnières. This tasty, complex wine is still a baby and will only get better with time. I wish that I had a case in my cellar that I could “watch” evolve over the next five or six years!
If you find yourself drinking mostly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for your whites and you need a change, give the Chenin Blanc wines of the Loire a try. If you can find a bottling from Pascal Janvier in Jasnières, grab it and see what you think. I have a feeling that you won’t be disappointed!