Monday, November 19, 2012

Vouvray TasteLive

"I like Vouvray," says my mom, my wine once a week friends, my wine almost every night friends and many of my I make my living from wine one way or another friends. Chenin, it turns out, makes many different people happy.  
Earlier this year, I hosted a Chenin tasting with a group of wine every night friends. Our line up included sparkling, dry and sweet. We paired the wines, as I like to do, with fried chicken from the very conveniently located Front Porch. Note that this is also a favorite Champagne pairing.

Lousy photo, excellent wines.
A few months later, I was invited to participate in a series of Tastelive Vouvray tastings. Essentially, I would be sent wines from the area and would taste them "live online" with a group of bloggers from across the country. Why not? 
First, a bit more about Vouvray from
Vouvray is the largest white wine appellation of the Anjou-Saumur-Touraine region and it produces splendid wines from dry and austere to the richest dessert wines, as well as excellent sparkling wines. Vouvray is made exclusively from Chenin Blanc, which has been grown in the region since the 4th century. The flint-clay, and limestone-clay soils lie on top of tuffeau, the limestone used to build the many châteaux of the surrounding countryside. The cool climate insures good acidity, which is balanced by the distinctly fruity character of the Chenin Blanc, and the mineral qualities imparted by the soil.
On average, 60% of each vintage is made into still wine and 40% is made sparkling. Sweet Vouvray is usually made from grapes that have been allowed to remain on the vine until overripe and shriveled by the sun and wind, so the percentage of dry to sweet wine depends on each year’s growing conditions.  In a cool year, only dryer wines are made but in years where warm weather continues into fall, harvest for sweet wines is delayed until well into November (the latest harvest in France) and there may be several pickings in order to harvest the grapes at their moment of optimum ripeness.

Twitter Tasting Night One

On night one we had:
Marc Bredif Vouvray Sec 201   (Bottle was corked)

I had four friends join me to taste. We paired, once again, with Front Porch fried chicken. Sadly, the Bredif was corked. Of the others, the group favorite was the Aubuisieres. I think the Chidaine would have done better with some air, but unfortunately, did not think to put some aside early enough. A lesson learned for tasting night two!

Twitter tasting Night Two
For night two:

Unlike night one, this second installment included a webcast co-hosted by Pamela Busch and Christopher Sawyer. As I have mentioned before, I love a seminar (really) and the information provided in the webcast was a big bonus. Sometimes the audio or video to accompany twitter tastings can be spotty, but this was clear. I thought the hosts did an excellent job of talking not just about the specific wines, but also the producers and region in general. 

Our first wine of the night was the Careme. With citrus and minerality, this seemed a perfect holiday party sparkler.
For me, the wine of the night was the second we tasted, the Huet. Citrus, minerality, acid, and balance, this wine was complete. This time, I did save some for the next night and even a third night and this wine continued to shine. I considered saving a bit to try on night four, but that will have to remain a mystery. 
Up third was the Gautier Argilex. I thought this wine was a bit closed at first, but with some air it showed pear and some floral nights. When I went back to it on night two, it was a far better wine.
Wine number four was the Foreau. As I wrote in my notes "speaking of homey." The jump from sec to demi-sec was larger than I thought it would be. It reminded me very much of the pears in honey syrup that I canned a few years back. Although it was nice to drink, it seemed young.
Our final wine was the Pinon. Even more pears and honey or as someone commented on the livestream "baked apple pie." This wine was an 05, but I again wish that I had a bottle or two stored away for years to come, as I imagine it will continue to improve with time.

At the end of the night, we were asked for five words to describe Vouvray. My words, from twitter:
Minerality, "food-friendly," floral, diversity, balanced.


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