Last week, we told you about the gorgeous Chenin Blanc grape of the Loire Valley, and this week, you get to learn about the fabulous Vouvray, a white wine made from the Chenin Blanc. As you can tell from our recent weeks of articles, the Loire Valley is a mecca for outstanding wines, ones that have not just succeeded over time but have ebbed and flowed in popularity, many making their comeback over the past few decades.
So, you’re probably asking, if Vouvray is made from the Chenin Blanc grape, doesn’t that make them the same thing? Well, the short answer is yes. But as you may remember from previous articles, in Old World wine regions, especially France, wines get their name from their specific region, and can only be called that when they are produced in said region. So, Vouvray is made in Vouvray, France, a tiny little town nestled on the Loire River, and it is made from Chenin Blanc grapes which theoretically can be grown anywhere.
This beautiful white wine has a pretty wide range, from sparkling to still, dry to extra sweet, with the most popular being brut and demi-sec sparkling, made in the same methode traditionelle as Champagne. The demi-sec, or “off-dry” is a very popular manifestation of Vouvray, meaning it is half sweet, or has a bit of residual sugar, which helps to balance its wonderful acidity and strong minerality.
It’s the proximity to not only the Loire River but its small tributaries that provide the balmy air which contributes to noble rot, a fungus that produces some of the best sweet dessert wines in the world. The sweetest Vouvray will have been born out of a case of noble rot, with the skins shrinking up and the juice inside concentrating to a thick, succulent liquid that is best served chilled on a warm summer day.
Because of the vast range of this lovely wine, there are few limitations to its pairing abilities. Honestly, the only thing it probably doesn’t accommodate well is a large chunk of red meat, but other than that, go for it. Grilled vegetables, cheeses of all kinds, salty fish, fresh summer fruits- the possibilities are endless. Just remember, drinking a Chenin Blanc doesn’t make it a Vouvray, but drinking a Vouvray does make it a Chenin Blanc.
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