This dry Chenin Blanc has the perfect balance of crisp citrus and melon fruit, smoke, chaky minerality and crisp acidity to make it a perfect accompaniment to food or to drink on its own. It is light in body but its flavor richness and complexity create a delicious elegant affordable white wine.
Situated on the right bank of the Loire, the estate follows sustainable methods with membership in the Terra Vitis, an association that has been around for more than 10 years supporting the philosophy of sustainable viticulture. In 2005, the estate achieved sustainable certification. This Vouvray is an assemblage of many parcels, which spread across the Vouvray and neighboring communes of Rochecorbon and Vernou, which present a range of different terroirs. The wine offers delicate stone and peach aromas with hints of honey, stone fruit, lemon-lime, pear, honeysuckle and orange on the palate; light-bodied with a medium-long finish. Fish, shellfish and roasted vegetables would make a great pairing with this food-friendly wine. Once upon a time it was cool to be tender. Tendre that is, the French term for a wine that finishes with a kiss of sweetness; like grandmother shushing a well-tucked in child with a peck on the forehead. The vernacular term might be considered “off-dry”. Yet off-dry does us a disservice because it lumps syrupy sweet wine like many White Zinfandels together with elegant wines such as Vouvray. Indeed, off-dry doesn’t quite sum up the complexity, richness of flavor, age ability, and agreeability with food that tendre wines possess. And Vouvray is THE wine that possesses all of these characteristics. Vouvray is a wine region in the middle of France’s Loire Valley. The wine is made from the Chenin Blanc grape but is named geographically – hence Vouvray on your wine label. This makes sense because ultimately Vouvrays show their birthplace more than many other wines. In cool dry years the wines are fragrant, austere and sec (dry); in warm years the wines are fruity, elegant and tendre; and in special years when conditions are right for botrytis the wines become exotic and moelleux (sweet). Nowadays, modern wine makers have the tools to standardize a wine year in and year out. But in Vouvray most producers hold onto the “old” styles, each year offering what Mother Nature gave them. Domaine Champalou is one such producer. This particular wine is Champalou’s Cuvee des Fondraux, a tendre wine that is raised in older, double-sized barrels (fondraux) for twelve months before release. The nose opens with aromas of Versailles: Calla, Jasmine, Lilly of the Valley, and Camellias greet the nose as if you have just strolled onto a magnificent French Parterre. Underneath come the hints of geography: ivory, travertine and warm hazelnuts rubbed in orange oil. The wine is, of course, tendre, yet to most people it will not be “sweet”. Rather, it will taste fruity, with all the charms of early autumn’s bounty: bosc pears, over-ripe honey crisp apples, and the tang of fresh water caught in the early morning by Kentucky-blue grass. This is the perfect cocktail wine – fresh, fruity and balanced – but please don’t stop there. One of the greatest secrets to food pairing is that tendre wines match nearly everything. From double and triple cream cheeses to fruits, nuts, or potato chips; all the way to grilled fish, roasted chicken, or apricot glazed ham. If this isn’t enough inducement to drink Champalou’s Cuvee Fondraux you could also do what the French do – tuck it away for ten years or more until its flavors evolve into a blissful amaretto nougatine luxury. These days it is daring to be tendre – many drinkers will outright refuse Vouvray thinking it sweet. But like grandma’s gentle kiss goodnight, Champalou’s Cuvee des Fondraux fills the heart with tenderness.
taste Good. i like It
- over 3 years