Celebrating summer’s swelter, we drank Vouvray at last week’s Wine Club–hoping to capture a bottled breeze from the Loire, just south of Vouvray. Thriving on tuffeau–sea floor sediment, 90 million years old–topped with gravel and clay, Chenin Blanc has been grown in Vouvray since the early Middle Ages. With moody weather affecting the delicate development of the appellation’s moelleux wines (sweet with ripeness or noble rot), in less prime years, sec wines are made.
Because we drank from different producers and vintages–2005, 2007, 2008, and 1989 Huet Le Haut-Lieu Molleux 1er Cru (shout-out to Brian!), it’s difficult to know exactly what led to the incredible range of these wines. With diverging palates present at every Wine Club meet, on this night, it took only four bottles to please. The fifth was in poor condition and so, was poured down the drain.
Bourillon Dorléans La Coulée d’Argent 2008–pale straw, the lightest colored of the wines, minerally aromas and a whisper of dried ginger and fennel fonds. Sweet ruby red grapefruit and cocktailed Campari, makes for a light bitter finish.
Marc Brédif Vouvray 2007–shades of yellow grass, with a nose of gunflint, apricot, and cheese rind. The acidity slices through notes of stony talc, but both remain standing at the end line. Nice.
Jean François Mérieau Vouvray Fleure Blanc 2005–reminiscent of a Jura white, the Fleure Blanc starts soft and gains momentum. It shows orange rind and herb infused honey without the sweetness, slight oxidation, and visions of a Christmas clove-studded orange.
Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 1er Cru 1989–from one of the region’s best producers–Huet–comes this Moelleux 1er Cru. On opening night, the wine’s a bit tight. There’s caramel, dried apricot, and a seamless creamy texture. On day two, she rises. Candied orange and clove infused honey. A whiff of fungi emits from this golden yellow aura. The honey nectar thickens into a paste…I can sense the bee’s floral vice. Baked apricots and cinnamon spice, hazelnut, and a surprising hint of grapefruit pith on the finish.