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Chenin Blanc Wines from the Loire Valley

Beer and Wine, Drinks, How-To, Wine 101
on May 31, 2012
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If you like your spring wines bright—but not slight—consider a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Choose either Vouvray or Savennières, depending on whether you prefer your sips a little bit sweet or all-out dry. Either way, you’ll get a windfall of French elegance for a moderate price.

Fascinating Fruit
Although Chenin Blancs labeled Vouvray can range from dry to drippingly fruity, you’ll enjoy the region’s most celebrated style when you reach for off-dry (that is, delicately sweet) versions. In these bottles, luscious orchard-fruit notes—think apple, pear, and peach—meld with a perky acidity for wines that will especially hit the spot with weeknight takes on fish and shrimp, as well as spicy Asian fare.  

Labels to look for include:

  • Chateau Moncontour Vouvray Demi-Sec 2010 ($16)
  • Rémy Pannier Vouvray ($15)
  • Monmousseau Vouvray ($14)


Magical Minerality
Wines labeled Savennières are also made from Chenin Blanc; however, the unique soil of the region’s vineyards bring enticing mineral qualities to this markedly different wine. While honeyed fruit notes seduce you on the nose, they become a beguiling backdrop as you sip. That’s when the wine’s vibrant acidity takes over, along with fascinating mineral notes, whether reminiscent of garden stones wet with spring rain or a lightly salty sea-splashed breeze.

Labels to look for include:

  • Domaine des Baumard Savennières 2008 ($23)
  • Chateau d’Epiré Savennières 2010 ($21)
  • Domaine de Closel “La Jalousie” Savennières 2010  ($20)

 

—By Wini Moranville


 

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