Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau’s 2018 Vouvray Sec provides an ideal introduction to Vouvray and the mercurial Chenin Blanc varietal. For starters, it offers a beautiful robe with a golden glint as well as a heady bouquet that offers the taster seductive scents of acacia flower, pineapple, and quince. Although from the aroma one may think that this Vouvray is sweet, Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau’s 2018 Vouvray Sec (“sec” means dry) actually retains little residual sugar. It does, however, offer wonderfully ripe tropical fruit flavors on a bed of minerals and balanced acidity, which play nicely off of the wine’s floral tones and physiological ripeness. In the mouth, delicate hints of papaya, pineapple and quince take up residence with a touch of dried honey and a nice dash of crisp acidity to allow the wine to finish pleasantly dry. And, as the wine collects itself in the glass and begins to warm slightly, it reveals a pronounced minerality, born of limestone- and flint-infused soils from which the finest wines of Vouvray flow. Enjoy the 2018 Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec moderately chilled (40°-45° F). Anticipated maturity: 2020-2023.
Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau’s 2018 Vouvray Sec begs to accompany fish, shellfish and a diversity of cuisines from near and far. Sushi, grilled trout or sea bass, and spicy Thai dishes top our list of preferred pairings with this wine. Mildly spicy East Indian dishes work well with this wine, too. Chicken fajitas and spicy Southwestern cuisine get our nod as well. Pâtés, charcuterie, prosciutto and hors d’oeuvres provide more tasty pairings. Strong cheeses provide other winning accompaniments to the Vigneau brothers’ artfully crafted Vouvray Sec. Even Roquefort and other blue cheeses shouldn’t overpower the charm of Vigneau-Chevreau’s 2018 Vouvray Sec. And in case you were wondering, the 2018 Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec makes a wonderful aperitif, and with nary a morsel. Enjoy!
Long considered a noble wine and a favorite of French kings, Vouvray’s motto Je réjouis les coeurs (“I gladden the heart”) is truly taken to heart at Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau, where beautifully tended gardens and acres of pristine vines along gentle slopes facing the meandering Loire River greet the visitor. Located in the heart of the Vouvray appellation, Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau specializes in fashioning exceptional still and sparkling Chenin Blanc, Vouvray’s great claims to fame.
Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau has been in the Vigneau family since 1875 and is presently under the meticulous care of brothers Christophe and Stéphane Vigneau. The domain’s own vineyards are certified organic and brothers Christophe and Stéphane have even taken organic viticulture a step further, adopting Rudolf Steiner’s biodynamic practices. However, due to hail and other severe weather conditions affecting Vouvray, Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau also makes a delicious Vouvray Sec (this month’s feature) with high quality grapes from neighboring non-certified organic vineyards. Although the production has been small in recent vintages, the quality is exceptional as this month’s selection will attest.
Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau cultivates several vineyards including Clos de Rougement whose vines date to the Roman period and, legend has it, were first cultivated by St. Martin of Tours, a 4th century bishop and monk who is also believed to have grafted the first Chenin Blanc variety from the wild grapes of the nearby Touraine forests.
Vouvray is the most renowned and respected appellation in Touraine, a province long known as the playground of French kings. Touraine lies at the very heart of France and occupies the central section of France’s Loire Valley. This picturesque region along the slow moving Loire River and its tributaries encompasses some of France’s oldest and most respected vineyards as well as the great Renaissance châteaux for which the region is equally famous.
Wines entitled to the Vouvray appellation hail exclusively from a single grape variety – Chenin Blanc. Unlike other French appellations whose wines exemplify their diversity through a myriad of different grape varieties, Vouvray expresses itself and its many attributes with a single grape, which can be made dry (sec), semi-sweet (demi-sec), moelleux (soft and lightly sparkling) or sweet (doux). In fact, about half of the appellation’s entire production is in sparkling wine made with the traditional method used in Champagne. Moreover, Vouvray can be enjoyed young or – in the case of the region’s finest sweet wines – aged for decades, evolving from a crisp bracing wine into a luscious potion.
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