Clos du Gaimont Vouvray 2018
Clos du Gaimont is a parcel of the esteemed Clos de Nouys vineyard, which is situated on one plot of premium land in the heart of Vouvray. Vouvray is one of the oldest terroirs in France, located on the east side of Tours. This wine is produced from trellised Chenin Blanc vines that average 30 years of age, receive south-southwest exposure and are set in clay limestone soil. The vineyards are managed according to an ecofriendly, sustainable philosophy. There is minimal weeding and regular scrutiny of the state of the vines in order to determine when the best time to apply a treatment is.
François Chainier, whose family has been working in wine since the mid 18th century, purchased Clos du Gaimont’s vineyards from a Bordeaux wine negotiant in 1997. The Chainier family have become pioneers in sustainable farming and are among the first in the area to employ green practices. Vineyards are maintained according to a sustainable agriculture philosophy, keeping the overall ecosystem in mind. The Chenin Blanc grapes are hand harvested with great care taken from vineyard to cellar.
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.
Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Somm Secret—Landing in South Africa in the mid 1800s, today the country has double the acreage of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. There is also a new wave of dedicated producers committed to restoring old Chenin vines.