The La Croix de Maunay Vouvray 2016 is a $7.99 Trader Joe’s import exclusive. Vouvray (inside the Loire Valley growing area) is located south and west of Paris and the vineyards are situated along the Loire River and boundaries are defined by 8 villages, Vouvray being the most important. The grape they grow in Vouvray is Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc is a very interesting grape, it can be produced into a full gamut of wine styles from fresh and fruity drink-it-now wine to age worthy White wine that can be cellared for decades and it also makes delicious Sparkling wine. All of this means that Chenin can have a bit of an identity problem, you may find a bottle of Chenin Blanc that you love and the next time you pickup a bottle (from a different producer) the wine can be very different from what you expected. It is a good idea if you find a Chenin Blanc that speaks to you to take a photo of the label, that way you can find the right one again. This is a young, bright and fruit forward Chenin Blanc and is rated off-dry which in Vouvray means mostly dry (not sweet), but with just a touch of sweetness. If you want to explore Chenin Blanc, South Africa produces about 50% of the Chenin Blanc wines available and they have a long history of producing quality Chenin Blanc, but the Loire Valley and Vouvray is the home of Chenin Blanc. The alcohol content is 12%.
The color is a pale butter yellow. The nose is pretty, like a floral perfume, with hints of lemon, pear, apple, peach, lime, and honey. This is fresh, bright wine with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. It tastes of Golden Delicious apple, ripe peach, honey, grapefruit (but not too tart), lemon, and Anjou pear. The mid-palate offers ginger ale and honey/lemon hard candy (but not too sweet). The flavors are delicate and well-balanced and the acidity gives this wine a bright edge. The finish is bold and does not go away.
The La Croix de Maunay Vouvray 2016 is a tasty, very solid example of young Chenin Blanc. If you are new to Chenin Blanc the flavor profile and the price tag make it a very easy wine to like. I am constantly being amazed at how good under ten-dollar wines are today. It wasn’t that long ago that $7.99 wine would be sort of drinkable, but it had some flaw, the grapes were picked to early or too late, something would be off. Today 8 buck French AOC wines are immensely enjoyable, the wine world in 2018 is a beautiful place.