Cazin Does it Better: Top Vintage Romo Mini-Vertical

Posted by CrushWine

Genius Loire Valley Esoterica
Rocking "Romo" from the Master
A Mini-Vertical of Top Vintages: 2007, 2002, 1996
Francois Cazin Cour-Cheverny

The "secret" of a GREAT quality-to-price ratio is simple, really.

You have to take a chance.

Find a grape variety that's not well known, a region that remains out of the spotlight - the more obscure, the better. Add a largely unknown producer and a wine that is, frankly, off the wall and you have yourself a pretty solid recipe for a memorable (unforgettable!?) experience.

Today we capitalize on all of the above, in a big way. This email presents a mini-vertical of a past "Wine of the Year" winner from three exceptional vintages: 1996, 2002 and 2007.

Every single bottle comes directly from Cazin's cellar where they've enjoyed perfect slumbering conditions - pictured to the right! This long, strange (and beautiful!) vinous-trip can be had for an average of $22.70 a bottle. (Solid cases of the 2007 are a ridiculous value at $14.73 a bottle! See below for all the details.)

Francois Cazin is certainly the greatest producer of Romorantin, a mysterious indigenous grape that calls Cour-Cheverny in the Loire Valley its home. "Romo" shares a kinship with Chenin Blanc (think Vouvray) and Riesling - it is an incredibly sensitive grape that can be vinified both dry and sweet. While the "Cuvée Renaissance" tends to have a more obvious, botrytis-inflected sweetness, all the wines have incredible acidities, snapping them into a sharp focus and making the whole "dry" versus "sweet" discussion moot, or at least besides the point.

This is a producer and wine we've been lauding for years and the wines have turned the heads of former-NHL MVPs, NY's top hand surgeons and first-dates alike - but the bottom line is the wines are as incredible as they are unique. Words simply don't do them justice, they must be tried to be understood. Cazin's curious bottlings will never gain worldwide fame - there is simply not enough wine. But for those of us in the know, they'll remain some of the world's most affordable treasures.

Francois Cazin is a sincere, dedicated producer. His estate, which is way off the beaten path, sells most of his wine within France to restaurants and wine tourists. Yet there is a palpable seriousness here - Cazin keeps a separate "tasting menu" and pricelist for the true cognoscenti.

As you can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the Cazin estate late in 2009. My goal was not to indulge in an over-romanticized tour of the "Mecca of Romo," but rather to really critically evaluate of the whole lineup of wines that Francois makes. Both reds and whites were tasted and Francois was generous enough to go deep into the cellar for some back-vintage treats.

In the vertical that ensued, three wines clearly stood head and shoulders above the rest: The 2007, 2002 and 1996. After a conversation with Francois (and lots of follow-up with the folks on this side of the pond) we were able to gain unprecedented access to all three vintages.

My tasting notes are below and include both my impressions in France as well as additional samplings on this side of the Atlantic.

2007: "Wow, probably the best Cour-Cheverny (non-Renny) that I've ever had... It's lively and sprightly but with a midpalate density that is still a touch wound up. Great concentration but still light on its feet." Keep in mind I normally enjoy Francois' "regular" Cour-Cheverny, but the Cuvée Renny is the one I go simply bonkers for. Not in 2007. No Cuvée Renny was made in 2007. When I first tasted the wine I didn't know that all of the grapes from Francois' excellent Romorantin vineyards were combined into one cuvée. In retrospect, the addition of the Cuvée Renny grapes to the regular bottling has obviously taken this bottling up a notch (or two!) - even my initial notes confirm this.

2002 Cuvee Renny: "Developing nicely - incredibly lively on the palate but also with great weight and viscosity. Still though the wine is light on its feet... and stings like a bee. Better than ever."

1996 Cuvee Renny: "Simply magical. A supremely honeyed nose that conveys a sweeter wine than you actually get. Fat and sharp at the same time - the wine is very rich. At the same time, the opulence is short-lived as the whip cracks, snapping you back to attention. A crisp, cold bucket of water in the face. It's like a boxer who every time he lets his guard down gets a punch (or a cold bucket of water) in the face. Every time ripeness re-enters the palate, the acidity kicks in again with a vengeance." THIS is a wine for those of you that want a sub-$40 wine that will live forever.

Please pay special attention to the various "Romo-packages" that are on offer today. The 2007 is a superb wine and at $14.73 when purchased by the case, it's an outright steal. The 2002 is drying up (wholesale pricing has increased 30% over the last year) and the 1996, at this point, is as rare as hen's teeth - the entire country scored a mere 12 cases of this nectar. For this reason, I implore anyone interested to respond to this offer immediately to secure your current and back-vintage, citrus-filled goodness.

Due to the rarity of the wine and the hope that everyone who wants to can have the opportunity to experience the genius of all 3 vintages, we can only sell the 1996 in "cellar packs." However, the prices are so compelling that you should not hesitate to take advantage of Cazin's generosity in opening up his cellar - you won't be disappointed!

To secure your Romorantin, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463 as soon as possible. All wine is in stock and available for Thursday evening pickup and shipping/delivery beginning Friday 01/15.

Tom Stephenson
General Manager
Crush Wine & Spirits

Cazin Cour-Cheverny

The Cazin Full-Vertical 6-Pack
Special Mixed 6-Pack Price: $136.21
3 x 2007 Cour-Cheverny
2 x 2002 Cour-Cheverny "Cuvée Renaissance" 
1 x 1996 Cour-Cheverny "Cuvée Renaissance"

The Cazin 2007/1996 4-Pack
Special Mixed 4-Pack Price: $82.84
3 x 2007 Cour-Cheverny
1 x 1996 Cour-Cheverny "Cuvée Renaissance" 

2007 Cazin Cour-Cheverny
Special Email Bottle Price: $16.99
Special Email 12-btl Case Price: $176.76 ($14.73/btl)

2002 Cazin Cour-Cheverny "Cuvée Renaissance"
Special Email Bottle Price: $34.99


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