Vouvray is famous for its wines made from the Chenin Blanc grape. The wines range from dry (sec) to very sweet (moelleux) and all are grown on the chalky limestone soils of the appellation, located just north of the Loire River and northeast of the city of Tours. Producers typically press Chenin Blanc whole bunch, ferment in stainless steel, and in stainless steel or old oak barrels of various sizes. Vouvray is not large, just 160 producers farming about five thousand acres of vineyards, but it’s France’s largest producer of Chenin Blanc. We recently tasted several bottles of Vouvray from some of the top producers. They vary by level of sweetness and include a couple of very respectable, fruit-driven sparkling wines. While we regularly taste Chenin Blancs from South Africa, it has been a while since we visited the Loire Valley. We plan to travel there again as soon as possible.
Domaine Vincent Carême 2021 Plaisir Ancestral Brut Nature Vouvrary 91 This Brut Nature is very dry, but rich Chenin Blanc fruit is prominent on the palate giving this sparkler lovely fresh fruit notes. Excellent mousse and medium effervescence in the petillant style. Would pair well with a wide variety of foods like quiche, white pizza, and many Cantonese dishes. Sourced from 40+ year old vines, aged 24 months on the lees, zero dosage. 13% alc. Vincent (shown here with wife Tania, from South Africa) also makes wine in the Swartland region of South Africa under the label Terre Brûlée. Importer: Cape Classics
Domaine Nicolas Brunet 2020 Fines Bulles Brut Vouvray ($29) 90 This traditionally made sparkler opens with light fruit and bread dough scents. The palate shows a fine mousse and subdued fruit flavors on a full palate along with hints of toast and minerals. Finishes dry. Sourced from 30-year-old vines, the base wine fermented with ambient yeasts in small stainless steel tanks prior to producing a sparkling wine using the methode traditionnelle (i.e., the champenoise method); ages 24 months on the lees. RS <1 g/L, 12% alc. Importer: Vigneron Imports, Regal Wine
Domaine Le Capitaine 2022 Vouvray Sec Les Perrieres ($25) 92 Pale yellow. Reveals a floral, herbal, and pear nose with a hint of wet gravel. Full in the mouth with good depth, chalky minerality and subtle, tangy flavors of white peach and citrus. Finishes long on a mineral note. A superb, dry Vouvray. Alain and Christophe Le Capitaine farm 28 ha of Chenin Blanc on calcareous clay soil; they ferment in stainless steel and age on the fine lees for 6+ mpnths. RS 4 g/L, 12.5% alc. Importers: Aline Wines
François et Julien Pinon 2020 Les Trois Argiles Demi-Sec Vouvray ($28) 93 A just off dry Chenin Blanc, densely flavored with prominent minerality and ripe, yellow stone fruit. Rich mouth feel with layered flavors and a long finish. Sourced from vines aged 35 years old grown on clay-sandy soils with a calcareous sub-strata and fermented in old wooden vats with ambient yeast; matured in used oak barrels and foudres on the fine lees for 4-5 months. Julien Pinon (shown here) is the winemaker. RS 20 g/L, 12.5% alc. Importer: Louis Dressner/Bowler Wine
Domaine Perrault-Jadaud 2021 Les Grives Soûles Sec Vouvray 93 Medium yellow straw. Opens with a vibrant bouquet of cling peach, chamomile and hints of toasted almonds. Broad in the mouth with layers of rich, toasty flavors that mirror the bouquet. Excellent, firm acidity and a very long finish. Sourced from 30-80 year old vines on clay soils with limestone bedrock, fermented in 300L barrels. RS 1.1 g/L, 13.5% alc. This is a partnership between enologist Anne-Cécile Jadaud and viticulturist Tanguy Perrault; they have 8 ha of organically farmed vines spread across 15 parcels in the northeast of Vouvray. Importer: Field Blend Selections
Domaine de la Fontainerie 2003 Coteau Les Brûlés Moelleux Vouvray ($53) 94 This late harvest wine from the 2003 vintage demonstrates the long life of Moelleux Chenin Blanc. Dark gold in color, it offers a bouquet of dried, honeyed apricot, ripe pineapple, and a hint of orange marmalade. Very creamy in the palate with layers of rich flavors that mirror the nose. Firm acidity plays perfectly against the sweetness. For two decades, Catherine Dhoye Deruet has worked this estate in Vouvray’s Vallée Coquette that has been in the family since 1712. Late harvested grapes barrel fermented with ambient yeast and barrel and bottle aged for 20 years. RS 45 g/L 12% alc. Importer: Beaune Imports
Source : https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2023/10/31/chenin-blanc-selections-from-vouvray/