Champalou, 2017 Update

The style chez Champalou is discreet, refined and elegant. Over the years that I have been tasting and drinking Vouvray I have come to admire the wines, and the people who make them, very much. While Catherine Champalou has long been the public face of the domaine, I usually find her daughter Céline (pictured below) in this role these days, and it was a delight to meet up with her again earlier this year in Paris to taste their most recent efforts. It was a particularly productive tasting, one which included not only the usual dry and demi-sec cuvées, but new vintages of both La Moelleuse and Les Tries as well, which the family have made in the 2015 vintage for the first time since 2011 and 2009 respectively.


Indeed, after a look at the latest release of the ever-reliable non-vintage sparkling Vouvray Brut, most of the wines I tasted were from the 2015 vintage, with two notable exceptions. The first of these was the 2016 Vouvray Sec, from a vintage Céline described with a wry smile as “complicated”, although it seems the Champalou family are content with the result in the end. “In the end it was beautiful”, she continued, “the mildew demanded a lot of attention, the vines needing a lot of protection, especially during periods that were both warm and humid, but in the end it was not a great problem. We had good maturity, the wines show a lot of energy, and for the season it is the best possible result”. The wine is lovely, but still resting in cuve, and hopefully I will get to taste it next year after it has been bottled. For those too eager to wait though, the 2015 Vouvray Sec is available now and shows great vivacity for what was a warmer vintage.

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