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Pascal Berteau et Vincent Mabille Vouvray Moelleux 1990

There was only one wine to open this weekend as far as I could see. One week from now I will be in Vouvray, and although I will be taking a break from writing updates for Winedoctor I won't be taking a break from wine (would that be even possible staying near Vouvray, I wonder?). I have some significant visits lined up, including some of the old guard such as Philippe Foreau, but I'm also keen to discover some new or at least less familiar names within the appellation. This weekend's wine seems perfectly indicative of this intention.

Pascal Berteau and his brother-in-law Vincent Mabille began working together in 1990, although both had previous form; Pascal had been working the land for several vintages already, while Vincent came from a family of local vignerons. Together they now manage a domaine comprising 23 hectares of vines, within which the oldest parcels date back to 1905. A large part of the fruit is machine-picked (this will certainly be the source of the fruit for their sparkling wines), but when it comes to harvesting in tries for demi-sec and moelleux obviously this is carried out by hand.

Pascal Berteau et Vincent Mabille Vouvray Moelleux 1990

The domaine is located on the Rue de Vaugondy, which runs along the Val du Vaugondy, a shallow valley in which flows the Vaugondy, a tiny tributary of the Brenne, which itself flows down through Vernou-sur-Brenne and into the Loire out on its alluvial flood plain. Drive along this road and you might be forgiven for forgetting you were in one of the Loire Valley's most famous appellations, for there isn't a vine to be seen here. Only the red signs directing you to the various domaines, and the fact that one or two of the buildings have an obvious winemaking look to them, indicate that this is wine country. The vines, of course, are up on the slopes (and the plateau beyond) either side of the valley. These are the deuxième côtes, and they are the source of some appealing wines, although it is difficult to find any that match those from the première côte, the slope that faces the aforementioned flood plain where all the most famous vineyards of the appellation are to be found.

So Pascale Berteau and Vincent Mabille might not have the most prestigious vineyards, but they seem to do well with what they have, judging by this wine. Their 1990 Vouvray Moelleux shows a shimmering, fresh, vibrant yellow-golden hue in the glass. A classically styled nose, with sweet tinges of orange citrus, a defining chalky freshness, bright and expressive, with clean lines and a pure definition. Citrus fruit vigour and pith on the start of the palate, sweet but also vibrant and full of warm-vintage charm, showing a surprisingly intense seam of mango fruit spiced up with scents of white peach. Lovely fruit complexity here, with delightfully balanced sweetness and fresh acid cut to it as well. At over twenty years of age this is still pure and clean-cut. This is fine for drinking now, but there is no rush here; I sense this has continued potential for future decades. It has been a pleasure to discover this wine and domaine, and I hope for a few similar discoveries next week. 16.5/20 (30/6/14)

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