Remy Pannier Vouvray 2006
Bouquet: Richly fragrant with hints of honey, ripe pear and brioche
Taste: Subtle, harmonious and delicately sweet; flavors of honey, pear and apple
Serving suggestions: This Vouvray will complement nuts, foie gras, pates, fish dishes and desserts
Rémy Pannier has been identified with premium quality Loire Valley wines since 1885, when it was founded by François Rémy, who developed it into a prosperous local négoçiant concern, buying, blending, bottling and selling Loire Valley wines. François was succeeded by his son, Louis, whose wife, Marie Pannier, provided the second part of the company’s name. Louis, in turn, was succeeded by his son Maurice, an engaging, adventurous man who is credited with generating a widespread following for Rémy Pannier wines in France and the development of new markets abroad. Maurice’s heirs retained a stake in the company until selling it in early 2002.
Rémy Pannier’s headquarters are located at St.-Hilaire-St.-Florent near Saumur on the banks of the Thouet, a tributary of the Loire. Facilities include eight miles of underground cellars carved out from the chalk hills, an ideal environment for storing wine. Lead winemaker Karine Huibant, assisted by four full-time laboratory staff, oversees winemaking.
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.