- Cheverny, Loire, France
Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this profile of Cazin:
(Click here to get to know Cazin on Louis/Dressner's website)
Let us tell you how we met François Cazin. In the early 1990's, Joe Dressner and David Lillie (then working as the Loire buyer for Garnet Wine and Liquors) would travel each winter to attend the Salon des Vins de Loire. That fateful winter, the two had set out to find a producer from the recently created Cheverny appellation. Both started from opposite sides of the stand and tasted through every producer there. After comparing notes, the only wines both had truly enjoyed were François'. They approached him once more, this time together to ask if he'd be interested in having his wines imported to the United States. Here we are, nearly 30 years later and still working together.
Created in 1993, Cheverny is one of the most recent appellations in the Loire Valley. The area, south of the Loire and abutting the marshy region of Sologne (the best hunting grounds in France), has produced wines since the 6th century. The soils consist of various combinations of clay, limestone and silica. Many varietals are planted: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet and Côt for red wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin and Menu Pineau for the whites.
Cazin tends vines of considerable age and the resulting yields are well below average in any given year. His Cheverny is fresh and floral, with appley-texture and crisp acidity. The flavors are sleek and precise. Since 1997, the wine has been bottled unfiltered by gravity. His wines have consistently been the top pick of the vintage at the annual Loire Valley wine show in Angers. By legislation, a Cheverny wine has to be a blend of varietals and Cazin’s white is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay.
Cazin also makes a cuvée of Cour-Cheverny, exclusively from the ancient local grape Romorantin. This varietal, with its high acidity and minerality, can be angular and rough. But in the right hands, it achieves high ripeness and the wine has astonishing grapey, apricot and roasted nuts flavors, kept fresh and lively by good acidity. In very ripe vintages, when the grapes undergo passerillage or noble rot, Cazin vinifies some of his Romorantin off-dry, calling it "Cuvée Renaissance". A considerably smaller amount of red wine is also produced from Pinot Noir and Gamay.