Too many times I find a wine I really like and do the research on it, only to set it aside and not touch it for a long time. Recently, while in a local wine store, I came across one of those long, lost loves.
I have always been a red wine drinker but will not turn down an excellent white, of which there are many. Barton and Guestier produce a chenin blanc out of the Loire River Valley that is extraordinary. In the eastern section, next to the town of Tours, lies an wine community known as Vouvray. The entire area is mostly limestone, and at this juncture of the Loire River, the soil has become, over the years, a mixture of gravel, sand and clay that adds an excellent mineralization to the wine produced there. The clay adds a unique flavor as well as nutrient base, while the sand and gravel are good for drainage in addition to the influence they have on the taste of the finished product.
The wine, known as Vouvray, is in fact, a chenin blanc, but is so named for the region it comes from. At first taste, one experiences a deep fruit on the palate that is supplemented by the a mineral flavor that shows off the terroir in which this wine is grown. Pear and fig strikes the palate immediately accompanied by the taste of sweet nuts rounding out a fruitiness with the slightest taste of citrus flavor. The mild acidity of this wine adds to its wonderful character, making for a pleasant mouthful of wine that needs to be chilled, but not too cold, as some do. The rule of thumb for chilling most whites is to serve it at approximately 50-55° F.
This wine has a rich but soft texture with a delightful finish and is best served with a light meal, but is excellent solo or with some light appetizers. The unique properties of this wine makes it one that can be served in the dead of winter in front of a fire or in the warmer spring and summer on the back deck prior to a cookout. One word is important to remember when partaking of a good Vouvray: Enjoy!