Domaine des Aubuisières, Five Older Wines, 2015

My visit to Vouvray in the summer of 2014 reminded me just how significant this appellation is. “No other white wine in France has the capability to age like Vouvray”, said Philippe Foreau during my tasting with him in the chilly air of his hand-excavated cellars, every gallery lined with bottles going back many years, some holding wines made by Philippe’s father, André. Vouvray is indeed remarkable in that its wines will age for decades, even in their sec and demi-sec forms; the naturally high malic acid in the Chenin Blanc grape, the practice of avoiding malolactic fermentation and a tendency to bottle early rather than softening the wine in oak are perhaps all features that contribute to this longevity. The residual sugar in the sweeter versions also helps, of course.

Some Older Vintages

Reflecting on this recently it seemed to me that I should pull a few older bottles from the cellar; after all, wine is for drinking, enjoying and learning from, not for hoarding or collecting. Despite the fact that it was Philippe who prompted the move, and the fact that I have more wines from Domaine Huet in my cellar than any other Vouvray domaine, it seemed most appropriate to start with Vouvray’s gentleman ambassador, Bernard Fouquet, of Domaine des Aubuisières. To be honest none of the wines here represent the truly ancient vintages that perhaps Philippe Foreau was thinking of, nevertheless they are some of the older bottles in my cellar.

Domaine des Aubuisières

The most recent vintage looked at here was 2002, which was an excellent one for Vouvray; during my most recent visit to meet Bernard he wanted to show off an older vintage, to illustrate how Vouvray ages, and to do so he chose a wine from 2002. During a visit to meet Philippe Foreau a few days later he pronounced 2002 to be one of his favourite vintages, alongside 1996 and 1990, and so it seems that these two vignerons have been convinced by its charms. I don’t blame them for holding these opinions; I too have long loved 2002 Vouvray. It was a year blessed with a dry summer that facilitated the production of every style going, splendid sparklers, delicious dry wines but also quite remarkable sweet wines too. From Le Plan de Jean, a limestone terroir in the Moncontour sector, Bernard turned out a finessed 2002 Première Trie which shows just what the vintage was capable of.

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