Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2020
Fresh from another tasting trip in the Loire Valley, I have spent the last three weeks immersed in the region’s wines.
So what’s new?
Well, as it happens, quite a lot. This is perhaps hardly surprising given this is one of France’s largest wine regions, stretched along the best part of the Loire’s 1000-kilometre course. As usual I mixed and matched my visits. In some cases I visited vignerons I already know, seeking out a greater understanding of them and their wines, through walking the vineyards and tasting current and older vintages. I visited Domaine de Bablut in Anjou, to tour the vineyards with Antoine Daviau, tasting some older vintages back to 1944 with him and his father Christophe, and I was delighted to be able to visit Clément and Christine Nicolas at Domaine de Bellivière, up in the Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir appellations. It was my first time there, despite having followed Eric for many years now. Better late than never, I guess.
More often, however, I was calling in on vignerons new to me and new to Winedoctor, including Fabrice Gasnier, Eric Santier and Bertrand Sourdais in Chinon, and Thibaud Chevré in Saumur. These three vignerons are making some striking wines, and while none are unknown none have really taken centre stage in their respective appellations. I intend to cast a little Loire Valley limelight their way.
Another Loire vigneron worth revisiting is Philippe Foreau at Domaine du Clos Naudin, arguably the flagship domaine for the Vouvray appellation. As is also the case with a number of the aforementioned families – notably Daviau, Nicolas, Gasnier and Chevré – this is a family domaine, where the vines are being passed from one generation to the next. Philippe is gradually stepping back from his role, and his son Vincent Foreau, the fourth generation of vignerons in the Foreau family, is increasingly in charge. It is also a domaine that has now moved to certified organic viticulture. Philippe resisted this for many years, arguing that there was no detriment to the land or the wine from the restricted use of synthetic chemicals before the flowering. But from 2015 the domaine has been organic; I can’t help feeling that Vincent may have had a say in that.
Over the past few years the Foreau wines have been particularly strong, with a super 2016 Sec being particularly memorable. The wines have a sense of energy and tension, all the more remarkable considering the run of warmer vintages that the region has enjoyed (or, perhaps, endured) over the past few years. The 2020 Vouvray Sec from Domaine du Clos Naudin presents a pale straw-tinged hue in the glass, but a beautiful intensity and impact on the nose, which is brimming with pithy citrus fruit, orange peel and peach skin, as well as notes of crushed white rocks, elderflower and lemon pip. The palate is full of delightfully juicy citrus fruit, supported by a mouth-watering touch of sour fruit, supple yet pithy and bitter, with a solid substance through to the finish. It has no shortage of energy despite its modest acidity, giving it a delicious sense of drive. A super dry Vouvray for drinking now, but it has the potential for mid-term aging as well. Reflecting the warmer vintage, the alcohol declared on the label is 13.5%. 93/100 (7/11/22)
Read more in:
- My detailed profile of Domaine du Clos Naudin
- My report on the Loire 2020 vintage
- My guide to Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley