Vouvray White Wine Region
Touraine white wine region on the banks of the river Loire. The wines must be made from the Chenin Blanc. The chalky nature of the soil and the caves cut out of the rock in which many of the wines mature contribute to their elegance and vivacity. A variety of types are made, from wholly still to petillant and fully sparkling; they also range from completely dry to luscious. Many reference books describe Vouvray simply as ‘sweet’ but this is not true. The wines of certain producers and specific sites are capable of attaining superb quality and it is a pity that, so far, many export lists simply refer to ‘Vouvray’ without indicating the type of the wine. Vouvray wine was for a long while considered to be a ‘bad traveller’ and the wines were seldom found outside their own region. However modern methods of making and caring for wines of delicate charm have enabled producers to popularise Vouvray in many export markets.
One of the remarkable things about Vouvrays is that, in an outstanding year and traditionally made, they can last for a surprising time, especially for a white wine. Twenty years or more is not uncommon. Also, even with the wholly sweet wines, there is usually a touch of dryness in the finish. Personally, I consider Vouvray not only as one of the greatest white wines of the Loire but, at its best, one of the outstanding wines – in each of the dry, sweet and sparkling categories – of the world. But the great wines are both scarce and expensive. Still, if anyone wishes to see the Chenin Blanc at its most magnificent, Vouvray is the place to look. I have never known this grape make wines of such greatness anywhere else. But only a few growers make the great Vouvrays. Names to note include Foreau and Huet, but production is small.