Are you in the mood for something light, a little demi-sec, and a bit frizzante?
Now, I can hear you saying, “What exactly are you talking about, Alexandra?”
I’ll tell you…
Do you know when you’re hanging out on the weekend and looking for a smooth, sippable wine?
You want a multitasker wine.
A wine that you can drink all day long while still being able to hold a semi-reasonable conversation, yell at your kids, cook dinner, fold laundry, and understand the plot of a movie you’re barely watching?
You want the perfect wine that’s happy to sit in the passenger seat and not get bossy in flavor or body.
Well, meet Vouvray…
Vouvray (pronounced Voo-vray) is made from 100% white Chenin Blanc grapes that grow in the Loire Valley of France.
In my opinion, Chenin Blanc grapes, even though they are part of the Noble wine grape family, have a bit of a marketing problem.
Everyone knows Chardonnay, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc, but Chenin Blanc is a tricky grape to grow and gets confused for one of those more famous grapes above.
You’ll see poor Chenin Blanc crammed into awful undrinkable California jug wines or made into basic whites in South Africa (don’t yell at me, I’m just saying what I feel).
But when Chenin Blanc is grown in the Vouvray appellation in the Loire Valley, it shines. It becomes remarkably versatile, ranging from lean and steely to candy sweet.
Chenin Blanc can be pale amber to deep gold and can be made in a variety of styles from dry to sweet and still or sparkling.
Drinking Vouvray is like drinking in heady white flowers, think honeysuckle, jasmine, verbena, and orange blossom with honey glaze in a tickle-me-pink way.
It’s got a bit of mouth-puckering tart. It is supremely quaffable with lots of juicy pears, yellow apple, apricot, quince, starfruit, pineapple, honey, acacia wood, Noble rot, and a bit of ginger.
I often can knock back a bottle of Vouvray in less than two hours. It’s that good.
Try the “tendre” meaning “tender dry” style if you want a luscious wine that’s a tad off-dry.
You’ll get a sweet fruity flavor profile without the sharp dryness of mineral forward styles. Don’t let the style off-dry fool you. It’s not sweet, Sheila, trust me. It’s still dry. There’s just a little residual sugar left.
Styles under Vouvray include sparkling, both Brut and Demi-Sec and still: Sec (dry) and Tendre (off-dry) as well as Demi-Sec (noticeably sweet), Moelleux (very sweet) and Liquoreaux (botrytized).
The Professional Friends of Wine say, “All the truly memorable Chenin Blancs are French, from Saumur and Savennières (very dry), Anjou and Vouvray (off-dry), Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume (dessert), and Crémant de Loire (sparkling). No matter the style, a certain floral, honeyed character, and zesty acidity are the sensory trademarks of well-made Chenin Blanc. When conditions are right, Botrytis cinerea or Noble Rot adds additional complexity and intensity.”
A good bottle of Vouvray will run you about $16-$25, and you’ll be able to keep it for 3-5 years if you choose although I can’t keep the wine in my house for more than a couple of weeks.
Voulez-vous Vouray! Sauvion Vouvray Wine Review
One of my favorite Vouvray to enjoy is Sauvion Vouvray, it’s 100% Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France.
It’s absolutely fabulous, made in an off-dry style, and medium-bodied. You can enjoy it with food or without it.
The flavor profile is lots of pears and yellow apple up front, with plenty of white flowers, acacia wood, dried apricots, and honey on the finish.
I was drinking it one Saturday while simultaneously watching YouTube cooking videos and writing in my planner. I also was doing laundry, which consisted of me asking Mr. W&D if he could take the clothes out of the washing machine and put them in the dryer several times.
The long-standing house of Sauvion in the Loire Valley chief winemaker Jean-Ernest is called the “Wizard of the Loire.” If someone is called the Wizard of anything, sign me up.
This Vouvray from Sauvion creates the baseline for me on which I judge all excellent Vouvray wines. When you pour it, you’ll see tiny bubbles in an almost frizzante or semi-sparkling style. But don’t let that fool you, it’s a still wine.
So, go on show Vouvray some love and make it your new Saturday afternoon bestie.