Chenin versus Vouvray
The first time I tasted a Chenin Blanc, I was at my sister-in-law’s father’s home in San Diego, in 2006. It was a Californian wine, though I don’t recall the producer or the vintage. Still, I do remember thinking I would never again drink Chenin Blanc.
Fast forward to 2010, and on Sunday night I tasted one of the best Chenin Blancs I have ever had: the 2007 Huët Vouvray Sec Le Mont. I brought the wine to a friend’s apartment, where she was having a dinner party for a few of us who work at Italian Wine Merchants. The wine went well with both the appetizers, including cheese and prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks, as well as the main course of pesto-glazed halibut that Alex prepared.
Vouvray, which comes from the Loire Valley and is 100% Chenin Blanc, is an appellation that was created in 1936. Those that are made from clay soil are somewhat fruity in flavor, while those made on perruches (flinty clay) soil might express more hints of minerals. Vouvray is typically drunk young, within 6 months of bottling, around 3 years from when the grapes are picked, but very good vintages are known to age for years.
Vouvray shows flavors of lemon, fruit and mineral, due to where it’s grown, but some also show hints of apples and pears, and depending on the style, some can emit notes of honey, nuts and fig, as well as white flowers. The wine typically comes in sec (dry) and demi-sec (off-dry).
There are also sweet versions of the grape, called Molleux and Doux, depending on the level of residual sugar. From what I recall, the Californian Chenin Blanc that I had several years ago was a bit sweet, but was not classified as such. Perhaps that’s because the producer caters to the American palate; perhaps my recollection is bad. Yet, I am certain that the Huët we tasted on Sunday night was delicious, or “off the charts,” as Alex said.
City Wine Merchant Selection: Bourillon-Dorleans Vouvray Sec VV 'Coulee d'Argent' 2007
A friend and consultant to City Wine Merchant, Krista is a financial journalist with a wine hobby. While covering the European debt markets in London, Krista received her accreditation at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Now back in New York City, Krista continues to cover the US markets while working part-time at the Italian Wine Merchants and maintaining a wine blog. Noble Rot combines Krista’s passion for writing and wine.