Vouvray is a wine you may not have had for a while, maybe never. It was a wine that I tasted years ago and considered it sweet. That impression stayed with me until now. Little did I know, Vouvray is produced in a range of styles from sparkling to still wines that are dry to sweet. That means Vouvray is sure to please many palates, and it’s food-friendly. I tasted two “gently dry” Vouvray wines and paired them with an Indian-inspired dinner.
This month Jeff from FoodWineClick is hosting the French Winophiles as we explore Vouvray. Join our Twitter conversation, Saturday, December 21st, at 11:00 AM ET (using hashtag #winophiles to follow the chat). Be sure to check out more articles from the French Winophiles on Vouvray at the bottom of this post.
What I Learned About Vouvray
- Vouvray (pronounced “voo-vray’)
- A white wine made from Chenin Blanc grapes, up to 5% Menu Pineau grapes are allowed but rarely used.
- Chenin Blanc is also known as Pineau de la Loire in the Loire Valley
- Vouvray is grown in Loire France in the Touraine district. Vouvray is also the name of the town east of Tours on the northern bank of the Loire River; the vineyards surround it to the northeast.
- Soils are made up of clay and gravel topsoil over “tuffeau” (a chalky or sandy, fine-grained limestone) on the plateau.
- Vouvray can be produced as a;
Sparkling Wine – in the methode traditionelle method like Champagne or Pétillant (slightly sparkling) made in the ancient method, also called pétillant naturelle or pet-nat. Styles can be Brut (dry) or Demi-Sec (sweet)
Still Wine – can be produced in five different styles; sec (very dry), tendre (gently dry, the classic style), demi-sec (off-dry), moelleux (sweet, dessert-style often botrytized), and doux- liquoreux (the sweetest, liquor-like).
- The climate is continental with some maritime influence. It is one of the coolest regions in the Loire Valley. Known for its fluctuating climate, it can result in vast vintage variations. The cooler the vintage, the more sec (dry) and sparkling wine produced that year.
- The wine’s higher acidity level contributes to its aging ability.
- Flavor profile: dry styles: passion fruit, lemon, quince, green apple, saffron, chamomile, sweeter styles: pear, peach, persimmon, melon, ginger, honeysuckle, bee’s wax, Aged in oak: nuts, brioche, Sparklers: apple, ginger, floral
My Tasting Notes
2017 Champalou Vouvray, Loire Valley France
12.5% abv | $22.00 | 100% Chenin Blanc
Champalou was established in 1983 by Catherine and Didier Champalou. The domaine’s 21 hectares of vineyards are sustainably farmed and integrate the use of the lunar calendar. The soils are composed of clay, limestone, and siliceous.
The grapes were hand-harvested. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine is kept at low temperatures and rests on its lees for eleven months before being bottled.
Medium-straw in color with a green hue. Medium body with medium(+) acidity, gently dry (“sec tendre”) A refreshing, elegant, well-balanced wine. On the palate crisp acidity and a hint of sweetness with notes of minerals and a citrus-lime finish.
2017 Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray, Loire Valley France
13.5% abv | $20.00 | 100% Chenin Blanc
Domaine d’ Orfeuilles was founded in 1947 by Paul Herivault and is now on the third generation of winemakers, Bernard and his son Arnaud. The estate includes 20 hectares of 30+- year -old vineyards located on southern, southeast, and southwest exposures. Soils are clay-limestone, with a high density of flint stones. Domaine d’Orfeuilles is certified in organic farming.
Grapes are hand-harvest. Fermentation is two-thirds in tanks and one-third in oak barrels with 25% new wood – aging and stirring of the lees in barrels for eleven months. The wine is racked 2-3 times and finely filtered before bottling.
Medium-straw in color. Medium(+) body and acidity, gently dry (“sec tendre”). A crisp, slightly sweet, full-bodied wine. Notes of vanilla, pear, minerals with a hint of bee’s wax. Well structured with a lingering finish.
My Food Pairings
The range of Vouvray styles makes the wines food-friendly. The dry style pairs well with light, mild seafood, poultry, and salads, the off-dry style is a match for Asian and Indian cuisine, the Sparklers make the perfect aperitif and the sweet style with foie gras and fruit desserts. Keeping the body and weight of the wine and food in balance. And ensuring the wine is sweeter than the dessert.
I paired the two “gently dry” Vouvrays with Indian-inspired foods. A roasted chicken with aromatic Indian spices, roasted cauliflower with lime, and a creamed spinach. Both wines were a match for the mildly spiced seasonings and flavors of all three dishes. I found that the spices were intensified with the wines. The Champalou was perfect with the roasted cauliflower with the lime, echoing the acidity and citrus notes in the wine, and highlighting the mineral notes. The Silex, which had some oak aging, was a match for the chicken in weight and texture. The acidity of both wines paired well with the creamed spinach, cutting through the richness.
Tikka Masala Roasted Chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 scant tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon mild curry
- 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 whole chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lbs.)
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, yogurt, garam masala, curry, salt, and olive oil.
- Rub the marinade all over the chicken including underneath the skin where possible.
- Place the chicken in a skillet or roasting dish and set it in the oven. Roast until the thigh registers 165 F on a meat thermometer, about one hour to one hour 15 minutes. Check after 40 minutes, if the chicken is getting too dark, cover with foil. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and eating.
Roasted Cauliflower with Lime and Curry
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into large bite-size pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 lime, juiced
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet and toss with curry, salt, and olive oil. Make sure the florets are in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes or until just beginning to getting brown and crispy.
- In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise and lime juice. When the cauliflower is done, toss it in the mayonnaise-lime mixture. Add the cilantro and mix, adjust for seasoning and serve.
Indian Spiced Creamed Spinach
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely grated
- 1 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 16-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- In a 3 quart sauce pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, reduce the heat to medium and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until onion is starting to turn golden.
- Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach, salt, and 1/2 cup water, turn the heat to low and cover. Cook for 3 minutes or until spinach is warm.
- Turn the heat off, stir in the yogurt and heavy cream. With an immersion blender, blend the mixture to a smooth pureé.
More from the French Winophiles on Vouvray~
Jeff from Food Wine Click! shares “Vouvray Pairs with Cream”
Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Pairing a School Assignment with a #Winophiles Project: Moqueca + Gautier Vouvray Argilex 2012”
Lynn at Savor the Harvest discusses “Why I Chose This Wine as A Holiday Favorite”
Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles discusses “The Multiple Expressions of Vouvray!”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Creamy Clam Dip with a Sauvion Vouvray“
Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares “Monmousseau Ammonite Vouvray: Gussying-Up an Ad Hoc Holiday Feast“
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “Carême Organic Vouvray and Lunch at Chateau de Pray“
Nicole at Somm’s Table shares “Champalou Vouvray Brut and a Very Lazy Cheese Night”
Jane at Always Ravenous shares “Vouvray with an Indian-Inspired Dinner”
Linda at My Full Wineglass shares “Dry and Delicious Vouvray for Easy Weeknight Dinner”
David at Cooking Chat shares “Spicy Lentil Soup with Wine Pairing”
Susannah at Avvinare shares “Vouvray’s Singular Moelleux Wines”
Payal at Keep the Peas shares “A Birthday and a Vouvray”
Liz at What’s in That Bottle? shares “Va-Va-Va-Vouvray! Get to Know These White Wines from the Loire”