Most people avoid French Wines because they are…confusing and so, well, French. They don’t label things what they are, and you’re just supposed to know what’s in the bottle because they’ve been growing it there, that way, in that style for forever and that’s that. So, I’m sure you’re wondering, what the heck is Vouvray?
Vouvray is a region in the Loire Valley in France. It’s near the City of Tours and about two and a half hours south west of Paris. In this region, they are famous for their Chenin Blanc. So if you see a bottle with the word Vouvray on it and it’s white, you are holding a bottle of Chenin Blanc. Most people have not had Chenin Blanc, which is a shame. It has the weight of Chardonnay with matching acid making it a great – and in my opinion more consistently wonderful – medium to full bodied white wine. Chenin Blanc is very versatile and can be produced in a bone dry, off-dry, or sweet style. So when I picked up this Domaine Pichot from my local wine shop for $15.99, I wasn’t sure quite what I was going to get.
The Pichots have been making wine since 1770. Jean Claude Pichot is the current winemaker and keeps his yields low to ensure the grapes are at their highest concentration of flavor when hand harvested. Like Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc can stand up to wood aging. However to preserve the crisp flavors and aromatics, Jean ages this wine in a mix of 20% wood along with 80% stainless steel. The effect this has is a very pleasant mouth feel on the palate with crisp delightful flavors and aromas.
When you first see the wine in your glass, it is straw in color with a clear rim. The aromatics are subtle and delicate with aromas of ripe pears, fuji apples, and white flowers. There is also a hint of honey suckle here that is more profound on the palate. The wine is off-dry with good acidity and great body despite the 12.5% ABV. The finish is pleasing and could be longer, but this is an excellent low-risk introduction to Vouvray and Chenin Blanc.
This wine will go well with slightly spicy foods, heavier chicken and fish dishes, good company, and a nice spring day.