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Champalou Vouvray Sec 2007

Chenin Blanc from Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France
  • RP90
0% ABV
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4.5 2 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Pretty light gold color, with a nose of citrus fruit and apple. Balanced on the palate with hints of white flower.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
With their 2007 Vouvray Sec, the Champalous are back on form, and with a vengeance! A fetching nose of quince, orange, lime, narcissus, freesia, sweet corn, and green tea ushers in a luscious yet remarkably delicate palate, with a perfectly judged hint of sweetness (this is what locals call sec tendre) supporting pear, quince, and citrus. Savory salinity, a hint of caramel, chalk, and citrus zest as well as a suggestion of vanilla cream inform an ear-to-ear finish of lift and refinement. Enjoy this over the coming 2-3 years.
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Champalou

Champalou

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Champalou, Vouvray, Touraine, Loire, France
2007 Vouvray Sec
Catherine and Didier Champalou both came from vigneron families, yet their mutual sense of independence prompted the couple to brave it on their own right after completing viticultural school in Saumur. Since starting the domaine in 1983, they have not only grown their business, but their label is one of the most highly-acclaimed in the appellation. Vouvray is home to the noble Chenin Blanc, more commonly known as Pineau de la Loire in their part of the world. As widespread as Pineau is, both soil and climate play key roles in the diversity of its incarnations, and a Chenin from California gives one no hint of what the grape is capable of in the right soil.

Farther inland along the Loire, in the region of the Touraine, Vouvray enjoys a warm, continental climate during the summers. Slowly dropping temperatures in autumn make for a long ripening season. Microclimates with high humidity can also bring about the beloved noble rot. The gravel and chalk in the vineyards also play a role absorbing the sun’s rays, lending increased ripeness to this part of the Touraine. The Pineau of Vouvray can be pétillant (sparkling), sec (dry and crisp), demi-sec (off-dry) or in a botrytized state called moelleux. Catherine and Didier make all four styles.

The Champalou family farms twenty-one hectares of vineyards on clay, limestone, and siliceous soils. They embrace sustainable farming while also integrating the use of the lunar calendar more traditionally associated with organic viticulture. The soils in their vineyards are rich, deep, and aerated though regular plowing. Cover crops are planted in between vineyard rows to help with excess water absorption and to encourage microbiotic activity in the soil. The Champalou house style produces wines of great elegance and tenderness, highly aromatic with impeccable balance. No one comes close to copying their distinct style.

Didier and Catherine’s daughter, Céline, has recently joined the domaine after spending her internships in New Zealand, South Africa, Languedoc, Corsica, and Canada. Daughter Virginie lives in London, and is also in the wine business. There is no question that the tradition and quality for which this domaine is known will continue for many years to come.

An important white wine appellation in the Touraine and one of the top in all of the Loire, Vouvray uniquely specializes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, and still to sparkling, each with its own definitive character. Vouvray is almost always 100% Chenin blanc (however up to 5% Menu Pineau is theoretically allowed but not often used).

Vouvray is also the name of a pretty little town just east of Tours on the northern bank of the Loire—its vineyards surround it to the northeast. Houses and cellars are carved out of the local tuffeau, a chalky or sandy, fine-grained limestone. Vineyards inhabit clay and gravel topsoil over tuffeau on the plateau, the best of which have a slight slope with a southerly aspect.

Chenin blanc’s high acidity and natural adaptability allow it to produce a wide range of styles with enormous success. Styles under the Vouvray name include sparkling, both Brut and Demi-Sec and still: Sec (dry) and Tendre (off-dry) as well as Demi-Sec (noticeably sweet), Moelleux (very sweet) and Liquoreaux (botrytized). Most can age about five years but the best quality versions will continue to improve over decades.

Chenin Blanc

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Responsible for some of the world’s highest quality white wines, Chenin Blanc doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. Unquestionably at its best in its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc can do it all—from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still or sparkling. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Chenin Blanc is planted in California, namely in the Clarksburg AVA but also very widely planted in South Africa, where it is occasionally labeled as “Steen.”

In the Glass

Chenin Blanc ranges from austere to richly sweet, with aromas of McIntosh apple, honey, beeswax, jasmine, hay, and quince. When grown in warmer regions, Chenin Blanc develops richer, tropical-fruit flavors, such as pineapple and melon, as well as ripe stone fruit. Often these wines carry some residual sugar.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Chenin Blanc has the structure, austerity, and chalky acidity to work with antipasti or unadorned seafood, such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food.

Sommelier Secret

There are several appellations throughout the Loire Valley devoted to producing different styles of Chenin Blanc. Vouvray, Saumur, Anjou, and Savennieres are known for excellent dry and off-dry wines; Vouvray, along with Montlouis, Bonnezeaux, and Quarts de Chaume, produces glorious late-picked sweet wines whose high sugar levels are offset by Chenin Blanc’s hallmark acidity. Sparkling Crèmant de Loire, Saumur, and Vouvray provide delightfully affordable and flavorful alternatives to Champagne.

CAR333720_2007 Item# 99873

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