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Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2010

Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2010

I’ve been ranting more than usual recently, on everything from critics and the Bordeaux marketing machine, including my manifesto on how I plan to report on the Bordeaux primeurs (there isn’t really enough meat on its bones to call it a manifesto, but I rather like the word) to the failure to get out of the 1970s mindset when it comes to Muscadet in a recent Weekend Wine update. Fair enough, but today I think it is only right to come back to wine itself, and to focus purely on what’s in the bottle (or rather what’s in the glass, shortly before it gets into my mouth).

Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2010

There was a time, only a few years ago, I really had to scrabble around to get some experience with the wines of Philippe Foreau, of Domaine du Clos Naudin. The wines weren’t really being imported into the UK, and so it wasn’t simply a matter of buying some. This is, by the way, something I am always prepared to do. I back up a lot of my tasting encounters with wines tasted at home; I think it makes for a useful check both on my ability to taste and describe the wines during brief encounters at trade tastings, and is a reminder of the reality of handing over hard-earned cash for the bottles. I think this is important, but my apologies, I digress, back to Philippe and his wines. Visiting and tasting with Philippe wasn’t easy either; he has never bothered himself with tasting events such as the Salon des Vins de Loire, or indeed any other salons I am aware of, and getting an appointment for my first ever visit was something of a trial. Thankfully, having built up some good contacts in the region, it has since become easier.

Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2010

During the last few years, however, the situation has changed. The availability of Philippe’s wines in the UK has really improved. It isn’t quite at the same level as it is in the USA for example, where I see good availability of the 2012 and 2011 vintages, as well as the 2007 Vouvray Brut Réserve which I tasted with Philippe last year (none of these are easy to find in the UK), although I guess the laws which prevent shipping of alcohol from certain US states to others may mean the availability is not quite as good as it at first looks. Nevertheless, here in the UK I can now pick and choose from several recent vintages, and rightly so. Philippe is one of the top vignerons (perhaps the top?) of the appellation, and it was crazy that nobody was listing his wines in the UK (by the way, any local merchants wishing to make the same move in Muscadet should check out the wines of André-Michel Brégeon). Anyway, when the 2010 Vouvray Sec popped up a little while ago, it was only natural that I should acquire some for the cellar. This is perhaps the best of the recent vintages for dry Vouvray, although 2014 turned out pretty smart in the end, and I look forward to taste some of Philippe’s wine from this most recent vintage eventually.

There is good quality at all levels in the 2010 vintage, although it seems to have produced particularly exceptional quality in the dry wines. Philippe’s wine is just one I have added to the cellar recently, alongside wines from Champalou and Vincent Carême. In the glass the Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Sec 2010 has an unassuming, pale-straw hue. I find the very characterful nose immediately appealing, being crammed with a pithy-fruit concentration with an interesting complexity, redolent of yellow peach and mirabelle stones first of all, along with notes of ripe pear skin, a little touch of star fruit too, sprinkled with white pepper. It is hugely convincing, and yet it still manages to step up a gear in the mouth, because it shows even more depth and conviction on the start of the palate. Here there is a very confident substance, especially so when we take into account Philippe’s belief in truly dry Vouvray; he steers his wines away from anything sec tendre, preferring the taut lines of the truly sec category. Within this substance there is a twist of spicy but stony fruit mirroring some elements on the nose. It is firm, but there is considerable tension and brightness underneath the substance, all leading into a long and savoury finish, with great energy evident here. Long, and clearly set to develop nicely in the cellar, this is an impressive sec cuvée. 18/20 (23/3/15)

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