Vincent Carême, 2013 Update

These days, a review of Vouvray would not be complete without an appointment with Vincent Carême and his wife Tania. Having taken on and then built up his family’s small-holding into a respectable domaine, joining the exalted upper tiers of quality in the appellation, Vincent is also – unintentionally, perhaps – fostering something of a Vouvray revolution. In part this leadership role is something he has grown into, as awareness of the dedicated organic practices he adheres to and the results of his quality-orientated philosophy spreads throughout the appellation. Also important in spreading the creed, however, is Vincent’s academic role at Amboise. Through his teaching position Vincent has built up a small network of enthused and interested young (and some not-so-young) growers. Together, in manner as loose-knit as the ‘natural’ wine movement, this tenuous ‘Vouvray collective’ are reinvigorating the appellation.

When I met Vincent and Tania very recently, in February 2013, I joked with Vincent that it would not be long before he was president of the Vouvray syndicat. He demurred at the suggestion; this is not a man hungry for power or office. He stated that current president Philippe Brisebarre was doing a very good job (I should point out that since the conversation took place Philippe has stepped down after 24 years at the helm, the office passing to Jean-Michel Pieaux of Domaine du Margalleau) and that he had no interest in replacing him. I sense Vincent is far more interested in ensuring he maximises quality at his domaine, in Vernou-sur-Brenne, east of Vouvray, and perhaps fostering talent among his peers and students, than in local politics. He also has his sights set further afield, more on which below.

Vincent Carême Update, 2013

For the time being then, Vincent and Tania continue on at their domaine, having just endured the very difficult 2012 vintage (and I think ‘endured’ is probably the correct way of describing their experiences). I have already given some details in my Loire 2012 review, but they are worth revisiting in more depth here.

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