Vincent Carême Retrospective, 2018

Something like ten years have passed since I first met Vincent Carême, and his wife Tania, and tasted their wines. Even on that first encounter it was clear to me that Vincent was a very interesting addition to the Vouvray wine scene. At the time, and for as long as I had been drinking the wines, it seemed like Vouvray had been ruled by the big four of Domaine Huet, Domaine du Clos Naudin, Champalou and Domaine des Aubuisières (although if you are in France, or in the USA where François Pinon has a strong market presence, maybe make that a big five). In contrast, while Vouvray languished, across the river in Montlouis this appellation was undergoing something of a revolution, spearheaded by François Chidaine and Jacky Blot. Vincent managed to breathe new life into the appellation, not only through his presence and his own wines, but also through his mentorship of many other young vignerons who were also newly arrived in the appellation.

Vincent Carême

The wines I tasted on that first encounter were very good, but looking back over the ten years that have since passed quality here has trended in an upwards direction. This was particularly noticeable around 2014, when there was a step change, and Vincent’s wines in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintages are easily some of the very best in the appellation. They have a modern seam of minerality and a reductive streak, along with a wonderful fruit purity, free of the waxy and woolly character that can sometimes be found in the wines of lesser domaines. Indeed, I would hold that anyone wishing to reel off the names of the appellation leaders today would be required to add Vincent’s name to the four (or five) domaines listed above.

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