Every time I go on the Kermit Lynch trip, we traipse through some rather august cellars: Clape, Allemand, Raveneau, Roulot, Chevillon, to name just a few. However, one wine more than every other remains firmly stamped on my mind as most delicious - Pascal Janvier’s Jasnières.
With bright Chenin fruits, the merest hint of sweetness and heroic acidity, Janvier’s Jasnières are impossible to resist for refreshment or all manner of food pairings. But look who I’m talking to - we sell out of these every year. Thankfully, there’s a new, limited cuvée - Ste. Narcisse - that you have to try to believe.
Don’t. Miss. Out.
2017 Pascal Janvier Jasnières
100% Chenin Blanc from 35-40 year old vines. 12% alcohol; 14 g/L residual sugar, virtually negated by the heroic acidity.
2017 Pascal Janvier Jasnières Cuvée Ste. Narcisse
100% Chenin Blanc from 45-55 year old vines grown on clay. 12.5% alcohol; 30 g/L residual sugar, and more of a demi-sec style, though not nearly as sweet. This is absolutely delicious now and can qualify for a longer ager.
More about the Wine:
If there is a style the world seems to want in abundance these days, the tiny appellation on the Loir (a tributary of the Loire), Jasnières, offers in spades. About 20 miles north of Tours, the grapes here are the same Loire Valley classics you find along the Loire – Chenin, Pineau d’Aunis, Cab Franc and Gamay. However, the slightly more northern situation makes a difference. Nothing here is “deep,” “rich” or “powerful.” That is not to say that there is not significant material or delicious wine. Rather, here freshness, delicacy and lightness are the touchstones.
Jasnières is dominated by limestone and clay, with small patches of silex intermingled. Chenin Blanc does very well here, seeming to have a little of everything we expect of this versatile grape – sweetness, freshness, body, aromatics, delicacy, intensity – the whole panoply! Too few know of this upriver Loire Valley treasure.
But Pascal Janvier is working hard to change that.
Pascal and his wife Dominique had never planned on becoming vignerons, despite the vines in Pascal’s family. However, at the age of 30, after having completed his courses in butchery, Pascal decided to leave the Boucherie and take up wine growing in his ancestral Jasnières.
The first vintage was 1991 and frosts reduced the yields to less than 6 hL/hA! Good thing he hadn’t left his day job just yet! It would take a few more years before Pascal could devote himself to the vineyards and the cellar. And thankfully he has.
The wines Janvier are producing are nothing short of miraculous, combining seemingly impossible elements in a single vision – somehow impossibly fussy and traditionally “French,” and yet very much of the vanguard, leading the way toward the new French wine reality.
You’ll find the wines on almost every serious list in Paris, and demand from other markets has heated up to the point that the wines sell out, and briskly, every vintage. Add American dynamo Kermit Lynch to the roster of importers, and demand is now quite intense. Though I have been an ardent fan and we have endeavored to offer the wines for several vintages now – there’s never been enough! They sell out too fast!
Finally, I’ve secured enough to send your way. But don’t let this detail fool you – there’s not an ocean of this stuff. When we’ve sold through our allotment, there is no more behind it! And, I can’t stress enough, there are few wines as refreshing, delightful, elegant and rustic all at once. Everything is here, and you will have learned nothing from us if you don’t load up on this profoundly delicious wine.