Monday, October 16, 2006

2005 Vouvrays Have Arrived

The 2005 vintage is supposed to be so good in many French wine regions, and the Loire Valley is one of them. When BrooklynLady and I were there a year ago all of the vignerons were saying this. I've been eagerly anticipating the arrival of some of my favorite Vouvrays, and finally they are on the shelves at Chambers Street Wines.

Chamber Street, by the way, has a truly fantastic selection of Loire Valley wines, both the whites and the reds. The entire back wall is devoted to Loire whites, including many differe t chenin blancs from Savennieres, Vouvray, and somethimes the lesser known Montlouis sur Loire, Coteaux du Loir and Jasnieres. Sancerre and Pouilly Fume are of course well represented, but you can also find the lesser known (and lower priced) sauvignon blanc wines of Menetou Salon and Quincy.

While in the Loire Valley we visited the Domaine Bernard Baudry and Matthieu, the son of the founder Bernard, who in his early 30's clearly has a wonderful career ahead of him (read: I am JEALOUS) patiently explained each of the cuvees while pouring tastes. As he could see our enjoyment of the wines (maybe he does this for everyone, but I like to think we were special), he poured tastes of some older wines also - just spectacular. We then toured the facilities. We checked out the dark and dank cellar where hundreds...thousands (?) of old Baudry bottles are sleeping. I also got to climb a ladder and stick my torso into a large cement vat full of fermenting juice. The smell of eggs was overpowering!

During our conversation we mentioned that we were interested in the whites of Vouvray and asked for his recommendations. He said that one of his favorites is Foreau, and I remember that when he said it he put his fingers to his mouth, kissed them and said "so pure."

BrooklynLady and I have since made sure to taste the wines of Domaine du Clos Naudin, made by Philippe Foreau, and they are indeed delicious. He makes dry wine ("sec" on the label) each year, and off dry ("demi-sec") and sweet wines ("moelleux") when the weather brings sufficient sugar to the grapes.

We have been looking for an excuse to taste one of the 2005 Vouvrays, so on Saturday night I made a little dinner for the wife, almost all from the farmer's market. To start, a salad of sorrel (a very lemony green) and broccoli rabe with roasted squash and warm goat cheese. Then sauteed striped bass, braised turnip greens, and cous-cous with almonds and raisins (and whatever was left of her harissa). I deglazed the bass pan with white wine and lime juice and threw in some chopped leaves from the top of a celery root.

We opened a bottle of 2005 Foreau Sec. I try not to get too excited about these things, but the wine absolutely lived up to the hype - clean, vibrant, beautiful. At $29 its a bargain, compared to great whites from Burgundy, for example. Sure, its completely different wine, but my point is, for under 30 clams you can try just about the best version of a famous wine.

2005 Foreau Sec Vouvray, Clos Naudin, $29.
Smells of fresh almonds and honeysuckle. Lucious, mouth filling texture, although the wine is not too heavy, medium bodied really. The fruit is still somewhat reserved - these sec Vouvrays can age and improve for decades. After a half hour or more open, extremely clean and pure flavors of quince, some light green apple and peach, and rainwater, with a nice underlying minerality. The wine held up perfectly in the fridge overnight too. The glass I had with lunch on Sunday was bright and tasty. Matthieu was right - Foreau's wine is incredibly pure.


Dr. Debs said...

Thanks for the vouvray, Neil. Just ordered a bottle online. Love those wines, but haven't had one for years.

Brooklynguy said...

Glad to hear it - where did you order from? I hope you enjoy it.

Dr. Debs said...

Hitime Wines in nearby Costa Mesa. They had the 05 demi-sec and the 03 sec, so I picked those up. I'll let you know when I get to them--but it might be a while!