Nowhere in France is vintage more essential to the style, quality, and quantity of the wines that flow from a given year than in the Loire Valley. To the tremendous delight of winemakers, Mother Nature smiled favorably on Vouvray and the entire Loire Valley in 2020, providing exceptional quality. Not surprisingly, the 2020 Domaine de la Racauderie Gautier Vouvray Sec is proving to be a truly exceptional Vouvray Sec. Juicy, precise, and hauntingly sensuous, the 2020 Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Sec offers a delicate perfume of orchard blossoms, Bosc pear, and dried pineapple. Once in the mouth, mouthwatering acidity and the region’s vivacious minerality born of Vouvray’s limestone-rich tufa soil meld with the wine’s clean pear and pineapple fruit flavors, culminating in a racy, palate-pleasing finish. For optimal enjoyment of the youthful Domaine de la Racauderie Gautier 2020 Vouvray Sec, we suggest moderate chilling (40°-45° F) before serving. However, some may prefer this wine slightly less chilled, as fine Chenin Blanc tends to reveal more of its varietal character and more aptly reflect the unique terroir of its origin when not ice cold. Anticipated maturity: 2021-2024. Enjoy!
All varieties of seafood, including clams, mussels, prawns, oysters, scallops, and nearly anything else with a shell is a sure bet to serve with the 2020 Domaine de la Racauderie Gautier Vouvray Sec. Smoked salmon, served with cream cheese, onion, and capers works especially well. And Vouvray is a natural accompaniment to Southeast Asian dishes, too, as well as sushi, sashimi, and all kinds of vegetables and organic greens, including arugula. In France, the ancestral home of Chenin Blanc, foie gras and pâtés provide preferred accompaniments to Chenin Blanc, as the acidity in Chenin Blanc cuts the fat in the pâtés and complements the texture and rich flavors of the meats. Chicken and pork dishes provide enjoyable accompaniments, too. Moreover, cheese pies, pastas, poultry, and quiches provide great companionship. Yet, one of the simplest and most satisfying choices to serve with the 2020 Domaine de la Racauderie Gautier Vouvray Sec is an assortment of gourmet cheeses, specifically Brie and Camembert. Traditional Loire Valley varietals such as Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc constitute two of the world’s finest accompaniments to full-flavored creamy cow, goat, and sheep’s milk cheeses, including those with rinds. Bon appétit!
The Gautier family has long grown grapes and made wine in Vouvray, the Loire Valley’s largest and most renowned appellation, and can trace their domaine in Vouvray back to 1669. Today, the Domaine de la Racauderie is run by Benoît and Jean-Michel Gautier, who make traditional Vouvray from their 86-acre estate. Their extensive underground cellars are carved out of tufa limestone, which provides the ideal conditions for growing Vouvray’s signature grape, Chenin Blanc, and the perfect natural conditions for storing and ageing the domaine’s wines.
The Gautiers fashion classic dry Vouvray Sec (this month’s feature), a racy, off-dry Vouvray Demi-Sec, and when nature permits, the rare Vouvray Moelleux, made from botrytis-infected, late-harvest grapes. Also produced at Domaine de la Racauderie is a selection of high-quality sparkling wines, including a delicious sparking rosé made exclusively from the rare Grolleau grape variety. All of the estate’s grapes are hand-harvested and Domaine de la Racauderie practices minimal intervention in wine making, resulting in wines characterized by purity of fruit and a distinct reflection of Vouvray’s unique terroir.
Chenin Blanc emanates from France’s Loire Valley, where it produces everything from spritely still and sparkling white wines to some of France’s most luscious and longest-lived white wines. In cool climates such as France’s Anjou and Touraine regions, where weather conditions can vary enormously from vintage to vintage, the acid-rich Chenin Blanc grape variety runs the gamut from bone dry to intensely sweet. Along the Loire, the Coteaux du Layon, Savennières, and Vouvray appellations produce the world’s most illustrious wines from Chenin Blanc. And, because of its natural acidity and ability to adapt to varying soils and climates, Chenin Blanc, like its French counterparts Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, has traveled the world. Chenin Blanc has found its way to Australia, California, and elsewhere, but nowhere is the illustrious Chenin Blanc variety more important outside of France than in South Africa, where it is known as Steen and has become South Africa’s most widely cultivated grape.
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