- 2017 Vignobles Lacheteau, Vouvray, France $7.99 (@Trader Joe’s, California)
Vouvray is an important appellation in the Touraine district of the Loire Valley. What makes it especially unique is that virtually all of its wines are made from a single white wine variety, in this case, Chenin Blanc.
Chenin Blanc could borrow Rodney Dangerfield’s oft repeated lament that he didn’t get no respect. The variety is widely seen as a workhorse grape. A wine that can add some nice acidity to a blend. It is widely planted in California, and in South Africa where it is also known as Steen. But it is a very important grape in France where vintners bottle pure fruit (with its natural high acidity) as unadorned as possible. No need for oak casks.
This is semi-dry (aka semi-sweet) Vouvray. The fact that there is residual sugar in the wine is reflected in its low 11.5% alcohol content, or ABV. Tasted blind, the wine could pass for an off dry-German Reisling, but the orange peel and chalk flavors betray its French origins. It has a lovely light straw color with flavors of nectarine, apricot, honeysuckle and pear. It has a nice round body and silky mouthfeel.
If you like your white wines bone dry with crisp minerality, this may not be the wine for you. But you would still be well served to try it well chilled and see if it expands your wine horizons a bit. It is a charming, pleasant wine if you know what to expect.
Perhaps the best reason to give this wine a try is that it would pair well with some notoriously difficult spicy cuisines like Hunan, Indian and Thai food. It would also pair well with dumplings and wontons.
The wine was a nice surprise. Take it out for a spin and let us know what you think.