To the south of Blois, a town perhaps best associated with its imposing château, lie the little-known twin appellations of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny. Having only been elevated from the level of Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure to appellation status in 1993, neither are regularly spotted on the average wine merchant’s list, and I think it is fair to say that these wines are a niche interest, most likely to appeal most to the hardened Loire fanatic.
Of the two regions, Cheverny is the larger, and it is also the most familiar; the wines here are very similar in style to those of the surrounding Touraine appellations. The appellation regulations dictate whites dominated by Sauvignon Blanc (the grape must account for 60-85% of the blend), blended with Chardonnay, Menu Pineau, a little-known cousin of Chenin Blanc and Chenin Blanc itself. The rosés and reds, meanwhile, are made from Gamay, with secondary blenders including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Côt and, in the case of rosé alone, Pineau d’Aunis.
The smaller enclave of Cour-Cheverny, however, is something very different indeed; it allows only for white wines made solely from Romorantin. Forty years ago this variety was much more prominent in this part of the Loire Valley, but in the years that have since passed it has retreated somewhat. Today, Cour-Cheverny is its last strong foothold in the region. There are a handful of domaines still working with the variety, and without a doubt one of the best is François Cazin (pictured above).