Fais rafraîchir mon vin de sorte
qu’il passe en froideur un glaçon;
fais venir Jeanne, qu’elle apporte
son luth pour dire une chanson;
nous ballerons tous trois au son,
et dis à Barbe qu’elle vienne,
les cheveux tors à la façon
d’une folâtre Italienne.
– Fais rafraîchir mon vin de sorte, Pierre de Ronsard (1524 – 1585)
Pierre de Ronsard was arguably France’s greatest Renaissance poet, and the name is as familiar today to French schoolchildren as Shakespeare is to their Anglophone counterparts. Much of his poetry concerned the issue of love, not least his two books of Sonnets pour Hélène, penned for Hélène de Fonsèque (1546 – 1618), lady-in-waiting to Catherine de Medici (1519 – 1589). When he wasn’t writing about love, whether it be well received or unrequited (it seems he had experience of both), he was busy putting quill to paper on the issue of roses, with which it seems he was similarly obsessed.
And then sometimes he wrote about wine, as in the poem above, in which Ronsard wrote of wine to enjoy as cold as ice, to knock back while Jeanne knocks out a tune on her lute, to which everybody can dance, even Barbara, the one with the hair so crazy you might think her to be Italian (accuracy of translation not guaranteed).
And what links this poet and his vinously themed oeuvre to the wines of Jasnières, and indeed those of all the Loir Valley? Pierre de Ronsard is this region’s most famous son, born barely a kilometre from the gently burbling waters of the Loir. His poems are a vinous nod to the wines of Jasnières and the Coteaux du Loir, four centuries before these appellations would be made real.
Indeed, Ronsard is just one of many historical figures who pop up in the history of this region and its wines. In this guide I will explore the origins of Jasnières and its history during the centuries that followed, before providing some detail on the appellation today, its wines and its leading domaines.Please log in to continue reading: