A Visit to Vincent Carême, October 2021
It has not been easy keeping up with all my favourite domaines during the era of Covid-19; indeed, there are some hard-working Ligérian vignerons who I do not think I have set eyes on since February 2019. If all goes to plan over the next few months, and the Salon des Vins de Loire (and other salons) go ahead, perhaps I can begin to rectify this. But I will certainly have my work cut out.
There are, however, a handful of vignerons with whom I have succeeded in keeping in touch over the past few years, not through Zoom tastings or received samples, but through real-life face-to-face visits. Remember those? The names on this list are like a roll call of leading names in Vouvray and Chinon, and their inclusion is a reflection of my admiration for the way they work and of course the quality of the wines they put into bottle. In Vouvray, vying for pole position on this list, we find Vincent Carême. Like his peers Vincent has soldiered on through the pandemic, even though it has undeniably brought new challenges to the processes of running a vineyard, and making and selling the wine.
I called in on Vincent in June 2021 to make an extensive tasting of his current portfolio of wines. I then returned in October 2021 principally to learn about the 2021 harvest, but I had the opportunity to top up my tasting notes with some (very) recently bottled wines. One of these, the 2020 Clos de la Roche Vouvray, is the first release from this tiny première côte vineyard, and I have already reported on it here. I present the remaining sixteen tasting notes in this report, taking in the full range of Vincent’s sparkling, dry, demi-sec and moelleux cuvées, not to mention his two South African wines.