Want to know more about the Vouvray wine region, and buy some delicate, aromatic Vouvray wine?
What is Vouvray?
Vouvray AOC (appellation) is a French wine region in the Touraine district, nestled in the historic Loire valley. It is also the name of the sweet, aromatic white wine made from Chenin Blanc grapes that grow along the Loire river banks in this region.
Vouvray offers a diverse variety of wines - still, sparkling, sweet and dry. And, several of them are worth a space in your wine cellar - be it for drinking or investing!
But, which are the best Vouvray wines that you should buy? How do they taste?
How do you buy wines from this region?
In this article, we’ll go through the Vouvray wine region and the grape varietal in detail. We’ll also show you the best Vouvray wines you can buy and the easiest way to buy them.
This article contains:
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- All You Need to Know about the Vouvray Wine Region
- Viticulture and Winemaking practices in the Vouvray wine region
- Different Types of Vouvray Wine
- Best Vouvray Wines You Should Consider Buying (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)
Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux 'Goutte d'Or'
Alexandre Monmousseau Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Personnelle
2008 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Le Mont
1990 François Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Botrytis
Domaine Huët Clos du Bourg Premiere Trie Moelleux Chenin Blanc 2008
Domaine Bourillon d'Orléans Vouvray Sec L’Oppidum 2008
1990 Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Goutte d'Or
All You Need to Know about the Vouvray Wine Region
The Vouvray appellation is almost exclusively dedicated to Chenin Blanc. 5% of the minor grape Arbois is permitted, but it is rarely used in winemaking here.
The origins of viticulture in the Vouvray wine region date back to the Middle Ages.
Let’s take a quick look at its eventful past.
If you’re keen to know more about French wines from other wine regions, read this article.
Also, here are some of the top wine brands from wine regions all over the world.
A Brief History of Vouvray Wine Region
In the middle ages, the Catholic Church maintained vineyards at the local monasteries in Touraine.
The Chenin Blanc grape (locally referred to as Pineau de la Loire) is said to have originated in the nearby Anjou region during the 9th century and was brought to Vouvray and the nearby Montlouis from there.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Dutch merchants planted several Chenin Blanc grape vineyards in Vouvray in the Loire Valley. They blended Chenin grapes from all over Touraine and created sparkling wines that were bottled under the label “Vouvray.”
The Dutch traders also built wine cellars in caves created by excavating tuffeau rocks used to build châteaus in the Loire Valley. The cold, steady temperature in these caves was perfect for aging these sparkling wines.
(Check out this article to know more about the best practices in wine storage.)
In 1936, the Vouvray wine region was named an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC). This appellation covered seven surrounding villages in Touraine.
Terroir of the Vouvray Wine Region
The topography of Touraine along the Loire river isn’t as complex as Burgundy or Alsace, but it varies just enough to create a variety of local meso climates. But, in general, the valley has a northerly, cool climate throughout the year.
Tributaries of the Loire river (the Cisse and its tributary Brenne) criss-cross the Touraine plateau making the region highly fertile.
The soil in the Vouvray appellation tends to be chalky and clay-like - perfect for growing Chenin Blanc grape vines. The porous nature of the soft tuffeau protects the crop from both drought and waterlogging.
Viticulture and Winemaking practices in the Vouvray wine region
Loire valley regulations mandate that Chenin Blanc vines be planted at a density of 6,600 vines per hectare. This helps to maintain the floral and honeyed aromas of the wines.
Let’s see what’s unique about the Chenin Blanc grape varietal.
Chenin Blanc: The Grape Used to make Vouvray Wine
In cooler harvest years, the Chenin Blanc grape is picked to make dry wine and off dry wine.
But in warmer vintages, farmers allow the Botrytis cinerea fungus (“noble rot”) to grow on the vines. This noble rot mold contributes significantly to the sweetness of the grape, and it can just as well be blended into a sweet dessert wine.
As for harvesting these grapes, farmers pass through the vineyard in several ‘tries’ before handpicking the best bunches. This is a labor-intensive process. It also means that the Chenin Blanc harvest is usually one of the last to conclude in all of France.
Once picked, the winemaking process depends mainly on whether the makers are going for still or sparkling, dry or sweet wine.
Where Else is Chenin Blanc Grown Outside France?
Apart from Vouvray and Anjou, a few other French appellations also grow Chenin Blanc - Bonnezeaux, Crémant de Loire, and Savennières are some of them.
Chenin Blanc is also produced in several wine regions outside France, including South Africa, California, Australia, and Argentina.
However, the Chenin finds its most captivating expression in the slopes of the fertile Loire Valley.
At this point, you may wonder: Are Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc the same?
Genetically, both Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are offsprings of the Savagnin grape grown in the Jura region of France.
Both the grapes have high acidity - they can be botrytis-affected and are aromatic. But, Sauvignon Blanc can only make completely dry or very sweet wines.
In fact, only a Riesling can rival the Chenin Blanc in versatility!
Like the Riesling, Chenin Blanc offers excellent acidity that makes wines ranging from bone dry to semi sweet, lusciously sweet, and sparkling wine - all the while maintaining a refreshing balance.
What are the Characteristic Flavors of Chenin Blanc?
While still on the branch, this pale yellow grape gives off notes of pear, honeysuckle, quince, and apple.
Before it ripens into full maturity, the highly acidic, half-ripe Chenin Blanc grape can make richly aromatic dry, sparkling wine.
The late harvest grapes, affected by noble rot, often have scents of orange marmalade, acacia, ginger, and saffron.
So, what kind of wine is Vouvray?
Different Types of Vouvray Wine
The Chenin Blanc grape is used to make a wide range of still wines and sparkling Vouvray wines. Annual production in the region is around 3 million gallons - 52% sparkling wine and 48% still wine.
1. Sparkling Vouvray wine
Vouvray Mousseux and Vouvray Pétillant are the sparkling wines made in this region.
Vouvray winemakers use the traditional Champagne method (methode traditionnelle) to make sparkling wines.
Here, the wine is fermented twice - once in the oak barrels, and then in the bottle after the addition of yeast and sugar, resulting in a natural sparkling wine - Vouvray Mousseux. (The Mousseux uses the same technique used to make the Cristal Champagne and other wines in the Champagne region.)
The semi-sparkling variety is known as Vouvray Pétillant.
Sparkling wine from Vouvray tends to be more lightweight and aromatic than other sparkling wines from France.
Based on sweetness, these sparkling wines can be classified into:
A. Vouvray Brut: Dry, less sweet wines
B. Demi-Sec: Sweet wine
2. Still Vouvray wine
Non sparkling Vouvray has a wider selection based on sweetness.
A. Sec dry wine: This is the driest Vouvray wine with less than 4 g/l of residual sugar and a prominent minerality in its taste.
B. Tendre (Originally Sec-Tendre): It is an intermediate between excessively dry white and sweet wine. The Tendre or Sec-Tendre contains just a little more sugar than the Sec variety.
C. Demi-Sec: An off dry Vouvray, this wine contains between 4 to 12 g/l of residual sugar, and hints of sweet apple, pear, quince, acacia, and white flowers.
D. Moelleux: The noticeably sweet variety, Moelleux wines have 12 to 45 g/l of residual sugar, with pronounced sweetness, fruit flavor and creaminess.
E. Doux: This is the sweetest variety of Vouvray, containing more than 45 g/l of residual sugar. It may carry the term ‘liquoreux’ or ‘liquor-like’ that describes its syrupy nature full of ripe fruit flavor and aroma.
What do you eat Vouvray wine with?
Here’s how to expertly pair Vouvray wines with the right food:
1. Sparkling Vouvray wines: Serve with a platter of goat cheese and specialty cheeses like Brie.
2. Dry Vouvray white wine: This dry Vouvray white wine pairs well with seafood, dishes in white sauce, or goat cheese.
3. Demi-Sec: Pairs with seafood and white meat in creamy sauces. You can also serve it alongside goat cheese, and other varieties like Comté, Salers, or Reblochon.
4. Sweet: The sweetness of this wine makes it ideal to be served as an aperitif or a dessert by itself. Or, pair it with fresh fruit, desserts, or blue cheese.
Now, which are some of the best Vouvray wines you should buy - for drinking and for investing?
Best Vouvray Wines You Should Consider Buying (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)
Here’s a handpicked list of delicious wines you shouldn’t miss out on!
1. Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux 'Goutte d'Or' 2015
This Loire Valley wine is made in Domaine du Clos Naudin that produces equal amounts of both sparkling and still wine. The wines are fermented naturally in 300-liter oak barrels in the winery’s cold cellar.
The 2015 vintage is concentrated, complex wine offers dense aromas with notes of mandarin, honey, and pear. This great wine leans towards plum, quince, seafoam, and Indian spices on the palate.
It is perfect for drinking between 2020 and 2037.
Price of 2015 Philippe Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux 'Goutte d'Or': $390+
2. Alexandre Monmousseau Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Personnelle
This Loire wine is produced by Chateau Gaudrelle, which also makes wines from other grapes like the Rare Rose Blend and Cabernets - Grolleau.
This deep-orange color Loire Valley dessert wine has aromas of caramelized orange peel and flavors of stewed fruits like yellow plums.
Price of 2009 Alexandre Monmousseau Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Reserve Personnelle: $50+
3. 2008 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Le Mont
This is a sweet dessert wine made in Domaine Huet’s Le Mont vineyard in Loire Valley.
It offers minerality, and complex citrus and smoke accents with a harmonious nose of dry peach, apricot, pear, petrol, and dry ginger.
This delicate Loire Valley wine is excellent for drinking at least until 2050.
Price of 2008 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Le Mont: $54+
4. 1990 François Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Botrytis
This 90s gem from one of the oldest wineries of the Loire valley is good to drink till 2030.
The acidity in this lush, balanced Loire wine balances the sweetness in it, and will delight you with notes of apricot, ripe peach, flowers, and honeysuckle.
Price of 1990 François Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Botrytis: $247+
5. Domaine Huët Clos du Bourg Premiere Trie Moelleux Chenin Blanc 2008
This Loire wine starts drinking like a dry white wine but finishes off like a sweet, dessert wine.
In addition to its sweetness and mineral notes, you’ll find hints of green tea, quince, ginger, and candied apple, with evidence of the noble rot that makes it so special.
This Moelleux is perfect for drinking until 2045.
Price of Domaine Huët Clos du Bourg Premiere Trie Moelleux Chenin Blanc 2008: $64+
6. Domaine Bourillon d'Orléans Vouvray Sec L’Oppidum 2008
This dry Chenin comes from the limestone clay and silex soils in Chateau Chevrier in the Loire Valley.
The nose evokes minerality and intense spicy scents of curry and pepper. The aroma of this Loire wine has the sweetness of honey and beeswax, which evolves into a delicious complexity.
The wine enthusiast in you will enjoy the notes of gunflint, tropical fruit, baked apples, white truffle and chicory that this great wine offers.
Price of Domaine Bourillon d'Orléans Vouvray Sec L’Oppidum 2008: $94+
7. 1990 Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Goutte d'Or
This old Loire wine comes from the premier vineyards of Domaine du Clos Naudin. It is perfect to drink until 2065.
It doesn’t take a seasoned wine expert to appreciate the sweet complexity of this fine Loire wine. Any wine lover would enjoy the acidity at the finish that brings out a bitter, marmalade flavor.
Price of 1990 Foreau Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Goutte d'Or: $650+
Aging Potential of Vouvray Wine
Vouvray wines are bottled early and need a minimum of three to seven years before they’re ready to drink.
They’re perfect to drink young - within 6 months of bottling, and around 3 years from when grapes are picked.
They also age remarkably well for decades thanks to the naturally high acidity (acts as a preservative) and intense aromatic composition of the Chenin Blanc grapes.
Newer winemakers are making Vouvray that’s approachable even as a young wine. But most experts recommend waiting for the phenolic compounds to release the wine’s complexity.
Its longevity makes Vouvray wine an excellent choice for serious wine investors.
But, how do you get hold of these desirable bottles?
How to Buy Vouvray Wine
If you’re visiting the Loire Valley, don’t forget to drop into a few Vouvray wineries for some wine tasting and pick up a couple of bottles.
However, you’ll have to spend hours researching wine websites, tasting notes, and reviews to pick the best wines to buy.
You need to be doubly sure that you aren’t buying a counterfeit bottle, and will have to make arrangements for shipping and long-term storage.
You’ll also have to pay high commissions to wine brokers and other middlemen.
There should be a simpler alternative, right?
Luckily, you can easily buy Vouvray wines, Burgundy and other French wine, and bottles from anywhere in the world through a wine investment platform like Vinovest.
What’s more? You can even have them stored safely and also sell them when the time is right!
Buy Vouvray and Other Wines Through Vinovest
Vinovest offers you a world-class online wine investment platform to buy wines for drinking and long term investing.
How do you invest in wines through Vinovest?
It’s easy - you need to go through these four steps:
- Sign up on the Vinovest website.
- Fill a questionnaire to share your investment preferences and risk appetite.
- Fund your account with a minimum of $1000.
- Sip your glass of Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc, and track your fine wine portfolio online as it grows!
Easy, isn’t it?
What are the benefits of buying wines through Vinovest?
Here are plenty of reasons to invest in Loire Valley, French wine and other wines through Vinovest.
1. Easy wine buying and selling
Vinovest’s Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based online platform lets you buy and sell any wine from anywhere in the world, including Napa Valley, Australia, and South Africa. You can manage your investment, buy more wines, and sell them whenever you want.
2. Provenance and authenticity checks
You can stop worrying about having to deal with fake Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc or Loire Valley wines. Vinovest authenticates every single bottle and traces its provenance for you.
3. Curated portfolio of wines
Vinovest’s team of Master Sommeliers and data scientists curate your portfolio using quantitative investment models based on historical data.
4. Optimal storage
Your wine bottles (be it Egon Muller Riesling, Muscadet, or Loire Valley wines) will be stored in bonded warehouses under the perfect humidity, vibration, and temperature.
5. Low overall costs
Besides the funds you add to your account, you’ll have to pay a 2.85% annual fee (2.5% for portfolios over $50,000). This fee includes
- Buying the bottles, including your favorite Roederer Estate Brut and Loire Valley wines
- Wine storage
- A full insurance policy at market value
- Portfolio management
- Selling the bottles
You’ll also get tax advantages since bonded warehouses don’t charge VAT and excise duty.
Your Loire Valley and other wines are safe in the warehouse under the watchful eyes of CCTV cameras. Also, if the primary method fails, there are power back-ups to guarantee the optimal climate control. There’s also a comprehensive insurance policy to protect the wine cellars.
7. Access to a global wine community
You can enjoy the benefits of an extensive wine network of wine drinkers and experts. You’ll gain access to upcoming Loire Valley and other vineyards, exclusive wine tasting and winery sales, and limited releases of rare wines.
8. Easy delivery
If you choose to sell your Loire valley wine, Vinovest will deliver it safely to your buyer. You can also have it shipped to your house if you decide to uncork one of the bottles for a special occasion.
Every single bottle of wine you buy through Vinovest is yours!
Whether you prefer fruity, sweet sparklers, or complex, dry wine, Vouvray has something for your palate and wine collection!
While it’s easy to buy a Vouvray at a wine store or auction, what’ll be challenging is having to do hours of market research, finding an authentic bottle, storing it perfectly, and selling it later.
That’s where Vinovest can change your game!
So, sign up on Vinovest right away for a hassle-free experience of building a profitable wine collection.