Château Gaudrelle, 2017 Update

There are many under-appreciated domaines in Vouvray, some of which I am sure I have yet to discover. After all, it is an expansive appellation, for many years dominated by a small handful of domaines that made their reputations turning out wines of high quality and great consistency. One domaine that is often overlooked, however, is Château Gaudrelle, although curiously I have known its wines for many years. Indeed, having come across them as a student, back in pre-internet days, indeed in pre-tasting-note days, I am fairly certain that the first ever bottle of Vouvray I drank was one made by Alexandre Monmousseau, of Château Gaudrelle.

Château Gaudrelle

Alexandre is a stalwart character who clearly loves his vines and the wines he makes, so much so that he plays music in his cellars to ensure the newly fermenting wine feels relaxed. In the vines he has long leaned towards organic methods, or so he tells me. In the 2017 vintage he has decided to bite the bullet and begin the conversion to organic viticulture, with the aim of full certification given time. He is starting with a 4.5-hectare parcel named Les Gués d’Amand; as he was already working in a semi-organic fashion he doesn’t feel it will be too great a shock to the system. Indeed, looking at recent yields – 38 hl/ha in 2012, 27 hl/ha in 2013, 47 hl/ha in 2014 and 34 hl/ha in 2015 – these all (apart from 2014) do indeed look like the volumes obtained on an organic rather than a conventionally managed domaine. Alexandre expects to extend his new organic practices across the rest of the domaine in the coming years. Will this lead to a raising of the domaine’s profile, I wonder? I hope so.

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