Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Brut 2012
I make no apology for returning to Vouvray and specifically the wines of Domaine du Clos Naudin this week, for two principal reasons. First, the joyous and yet elegant quality of the wines made here over the past three decades by Philippe Foreau keep me coming back for more, again and again. And again. Secondly, there are changes afoot here, a handing over of the baton from one generation to the next, so I could argue the domaine is currently ‘newsworthy’.
A potted summary for those less familiar with the domaine might be useful to put recent developments into context. It was Philippe Foreau’s grandfather Armand Foreau, a war veteran returned home to Vouvray, who first acquired the vines. This was back in 1923. The domaine he built up he subsequently passed to his son André Foreau, who then ultimately handed over the reins to Philippe, the youngest of three brothers. The father-and-son team worked together for some years before André stepped back, the first vintage in which Philippe Foreau flew solo being 1983. He has continued at the helm since then, overseeing the production of some dramatic wines, including numerous examples of the other-worldly Moelleux Réserve cuvée as well, of course, as the two most recent vintages of the ethereal Goutte d’Or, in 1990 and 2011.
The story is now turning full circle, however, as in recent years Philippe’s son Vincent Foreau has been helping out on the domaine. And I have noticed, as I mentioned when I wrote up the magnificent 2016 Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec, that it is Vincent’s name that now appears on the labels. And now, with the release of the 2012 Vouvray Brut, we also have a newly designed label to pore over. I think it looks pretty good compared to the old design, an example of which can be seen in my report on the 2007 Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Brut Réserve. I don’t normally pay much attention to packaging and branding here on Winedoctor, as it is what comes out into the glass that matters, but with a domaine as important as this, and with a change that does mirror a shift of responsibility from one generation to the next, it does seem worthy of mention.
As for the liquid hidden within, happily I can report no concerns here. I confess I tend to drink the Brut Réserve much more than I do the straight Brut, but the 2012 Domaine du Clos Naudin Brut compares very well indeed with my encounters with prior vintages, not least the 2011 Brut which I threw into a dinner party mix a few weeks ago. In the glass it displays polished yet pale-straw hue. The bead is rather gentle, sparse even, but it is quite persistent. Aromatically it releases notes that suggest pear and toasted almond, along with scented acacia and touches of mineral smoke. The palate follows this early lead, with fresh pear fruit and acacia at first, but with richer nuances joining in later, including a touch of quince, along with a little dried fruit concentration. This is countered by the palate’s delightfully fresh acidity and a fine effervescent mousse which has a greater impact in the mouth than the bead suggested. It even has some length to it as well. All in all, a good result. 92/100
It’s about time I called in on Philippe (and Vincent), my most recent visit here having been back in 2014. I will be back in Vouvray in December, but I think I shall endeavour to set something up with the Foreau clan in spring next year. (5/11/18)
Read more in:
- My detailed profile of Domaine du Clos Naudin
- My report on the Loire 2012 vintage
- My guide to Chenin Blanc