Vincent Carême, 2016 Update

If there is one discovery I am glad I made during my wine-drinking life it is Vincent Carême and his wines. I first tasted them back in early 2009, so I have been scribbling about this Vouvray vigneron and his wines for more than seven years now. During that time I have watched this domaine evolve from a merely interesting addition to the appellation, to one of the very top names of the entire region.

Vouvray has not seen any great change in the upper levels of the quality hierarchy for many years. It was with the superb 1989 and 1990 vintages that Catherine and Didier Champalou and Bernard Fouquet burst onto the scene, at long last a challenge to the hegemony of Domaine Huet and Philippe Foreau. Since then, for as long as I can remember, the top tier in the appellation has been these four names. There have always been contenders for elevation to the top tier, one of the best being François Pinon, but his has been a quiet ascent. For so long seemingly overlooked, except perhaps on the east coast of the USA where his wines have been selling well for many years, I suspect François also deserves a top tier place. But has there been anyone else? François Chidaine or Jacky Blot, perhaps? I know some readers would agree with this, so it is ironic both have been excluded from the appellation since the 2014 vintage.

Vincent Carême

Wherever we draw the line between top tier and second, whether or not we include Pinon, or Chidaine, or Blot, the situation in Vouvray has hardly been a dynamic one. Well over two decades has passed with almost no change, the appellation seemingly stagnant. Although the domaines listed were doing great things, there was no new blood in the appellation, no young vigneron to upset the applecart (or should that be grape cagette?), his wines clamouring for our attention. And then came Vincent Carême, suddenly breathing new life into this appellation. What I think is most notable about his ascendancy within Vouvray though, is that whereas Catherine and Didier Champalou, Bernard Fouquet and François Pinon climbed the ladder brandishing their brilliant sweet wines as evidence of their achievements, with Vincent it is the dry wines I find most convincing of all.

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