Domaine de la Fontainerie, Vouvray Brut Nature 2017
Chenin Blanc｜Loire Valley, France
“Oh man, this is good!” That’s what some guests at a recent dinner party exclaimed when they tasted this fresh, ultra-delicious bubbly from the Loire river valley. And not just from anywhere along the the river’s 600-km stretch – this is from Vouvray, the spiritual home of the noble Chenin Blanc grape and to the distinguished Domaine de la Fontainerie, run by Madame Catherine Dhoye Deruet.
Although this is indeed produced in the méthode traditionnelle “Champagne” method, Catherine Dhoye Deruet isn’t trying to copy Champagne, but rather showcase her domaine’s tuffeau soils and the local Chenin Blanc grape. And by bottling it as a Brut Nature (no added sugar in the dosage), she crafts a beautiful snapshot of the 2017 growing season and a damn fine bottle of bubbles.
An energetic mousse and terrifically aromatic nose emerge from the first pour, and the palate is zippy and fresh with crisp green apples, Bosc pear, lemon curd and wet stone. The palate is sumptuously, lip–smackingly, indisputably Chenin Blanc and the finish is pleasantly fleshy with a stony mid-palate and a clean, dry finish compliments of its Brut Nature, no-sugar-added approach.
The state has been in the family since 1712, in one of the best areas, the Vallée Coquette – “the flirtatious valley.” In keeping with its name, this is a fun, carefree, single vintage sparkler that seriously over delivers for its modest price.