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Sylvain Gaudron Vouvray Moelleux Le Grain d’Or 2010

Sylvain Gaudron Vouvray Moelleux Le Grain d’Or 2010

This week I will continue my 2014 Loire Valley regional vintage reports, first moving on to my 2014 Touraine report tomorrow, looking at how the appellations of Vouvray, Chinon and the like faired during the 2014 vintage. Later in the week I will finish up with the Central vineyards, mainly Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé of course, where the vignerons enjoyed not only good quality but also more bountiful yields in 2014. I’m also conscious that I need to focus a little more on Bordeaux than I have been able to do recently, and there are a few relevant articles lined up. And so I should be able to squeeze in a tasting report on some wines from the 2002 Bordeaux vintage this week, and in future weeks I have a detailed assessment of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage coming up, as well as new profiles for some interesting minor châteaux off the beaten track, and a mini-report from a tasting dinner in St Emilion.

For today though, my focus is on Vouvray. The 2014 vintage hasn’t turned out to be a great one for the moelleux style in this appellation. There will be some sweet wines made, but not that many, as many vignerons decided enough was enough when they saw the rain forecast for the second week of October 2014. Most responded by going out to pick with sec, demi-sec and sparkling cuvées in mind. A few did try for a sweet wine though, leaving fruit out on the vine through the rain, Vincent Carême and Florent Cosme being two names that spring to mind, and against the odds they succeeded. Even so, the 18º achieved by Florent, for example, is the exception rather than the rule in this vintage.

It is also true to say that neither 2013 nor 2012 were favourable vintages as far as sweet wines go; we have to look back to 2011 and 2010 to find convincing moelleux cuvées from Vouvray. The 2011 vintage was a really topsy-turvy affair, with a cool summer but warm spring and autumn, and that is reflected in the ‘portfolio’ of the vintage, the drier wines occasionally showing a rather clunky mismatch in terms of technical and phenolic ripeness, but where the fruit was allowed to stay out on the vines, allowing it all to come together, the result can be truly stunning.

Sylvain Gaudron Vouvray Moelleux Le Grain d'Or 2010

The 2010 vintage is one where the quality shines through more clearly, perhaps because it is there at every level, from sec up to moelleux. This weekend’s wine is from this very successful vintage, and it comes from a domaine I have not featured on Winedoctor before. I’m keen to continue to broaden my coverage (and my knowledge) of the Vouvray appellation (and indeed every other Bordeaux and Loire appellation), I have been trying to sniff out interesting wines from domaines with which I am less familiar. The Gaudron family are located in Vernou-sur-Brenne, and it was Sylvain Gaudron that established the domaine, back in 1890. Today Gilles Gaudron, the fourth generation of the family to take up the secateurs, is in charge. They have about 27 hectares of vines on the slopes that surround the town to work with, and they vinify their wines in ancient cellars that date back to at least the 13th century.

This isn’t a vintage known for prodigious botrytis, nevertheless noble rot clearly did afflict some grapes this year, as evinced by the existence of this wine, the 2010 Vouvray Moelleux Grain d’Or from Sylvain Gaudron, which proudly boasts its pourriture noble origins on its neck label (sadly, not visible in my picture above). It comes in a 50 cl bottle, tall and narrow; I’m not a fan of novelty bottles, but I will overlook it in this case simply because the contents of the bottle tell me I should. The residual sugar is 115 g/l, and the alcohol just 11.5%. In the glass the wine still has a very youthful, fresh, lemon-gold hue. The aromas certainly speak of sweetness, ripeness and concentration, with scents of sweet tropical fruit salad, rich in melon, candied pear, even a little desiccated orange peel and perfumed apricot, perhaps veering away here from simple fruit and into the realm of botrytis. The palate is splendidly fresh, showing the same sweet tropical fruit salad here as on the nose, and although the flavour profile is fairly straightforward at this stage in time, with a very pure mango and apricot sweetness, laced with a vanilla flower complexity, underneath it shows a very good botrytis-based substance and a pithy presence into the finish, giving the wine some appealing length. This is a wine of fine sweetness, showing some early noble rot character, and I think it has real potential. 16.5/20 (23/2/15)

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