In France, it is said that dirt is destiny, but weather ultimately determines the vintage quality as well as the quantity: the 2021 vintage in Vouvray delivered on all fronts. The 2021 Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Sec comes across as classic Vouvray, offering up a delicate perfume of stone fruits, crisp fall apples, and Bosc pears. In the mouth, the region’s vivacious minerality born of Vouvray’s limestone-rich tufa soil melds with fresh and clean stone fruit flavors to delight the palate. Racy and balanced, yet laser-like in precision, the sensuous, juicy, 2021 Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Sec exhibits all of Chenin Blanc’s finest attributes, including a satin-like underpinning and a long distinctive finish for which Vouvray is renowned. For optimal enjoyment of the 2021 Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Sec, we suggest moderate chilling (40°-45° F) before serving. Nonetheless, classic Vouvray tends to reveal more of its varietal character and aptly reflect the unique terroir of its origin when not ice cold, so consider giving it a little time in the glass to shed its initial chill. Anticipated maturity: 2023-2026. Enjoy!
Almost anything that once inhabited the sea, including clams, mussels, prawns, oysters, scallops, and nearly everything else with a shell is a sure bet to serve with the 2021 Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Sec. Shrimp Tempura makes a fine companion, too. Smoked salmon, served with cream cheese, onion, and capers provides a tasty pairing, as will most flaky white fish. The 2021 Vouvray is a natural accompaniment to Southeast Asian dishes as well as sushi, sashimi, and all kinds of vegetables and organic greens. 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, and we second that notion. Chicken and pork dishes provide enjoyable accompaniments, too. Chicken Saltimbocca with prosciutto, sage, capers, lemon butter, and kale also makes a case for itself. Moreover, cheese pies and creamy pastas provide additional tasty accompaniments. And, for a simple satisfying companion to the 2021 Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Sec, all one needs is an assortment of gourmet cheeses. 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, 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 winemaking, resulting in wines characterized by purity of fruit and a distinct reflection of Vouvray’s unique chalky limestone-rich soil.
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’ 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, Côteaux de 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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