Sébastien Cornille founded Domaine de la Roche Bleue in 2007. Decimated by phylloxera and a great frost in 1956, the small appellation of Jasnières (Jaa-nyair) (two communes and 161 acres) has been slowly ressurrected. A remote outpost for Chenin Blanc some 30 miles north of the city of Tours in the Loire Valley. It’s here that the grape meets the apple; where the production of wine abuts that of cider and can go no further north.
Jasnières’ rendition of Chenin is a cross between Vouvray (tuffeau limestone) and Savennières (schist) — combining the succulent fruit of the former with the precise and profound minerality of the latter (without, however, Savennières’ often heady alcohol).
Starting in 2010, Cornille embarked upon organic viticulture. Certification came three years later, and today he works organically and employs some biodynamic methods (primarily scheduling certain operations according to the lunar cycle). His focus is on making wines as transparently as possible with minimal intervention—thus spontaneous ferments, aging in neutral barrels, no induced cold stabilizations, no fining or filtration for the reds unless absolutely required and only very light filtrations for the whites. Finally, of course, minimal SO2 additions, done primarily at bottling.
Sébastien’s wines are made and aged in a troglodyte cave that was dug deep into the tuffeau chalk in 1714. Total production is about 1700 cases.
The Jasnières is mostly raised in neutral oak with around 40% in steel. The immediate appeal is the flinty briny notes intermingled with fresh pure essence of pressed heritage apples. Vibrant, but still refined with a taut tight rope of tension across the palate, the wine will elicited squeals of delight from acid heads who love clarity and transparency of place. 12.5% alcohol