Variety: Chenin Blanc
Country, Region: France, Loire Valley
'I don't have any figures for this cuvée to hand, but in terms of residual sugar and balance it feels very similar to the wines from Domaine Huet and Vincent Carême, tasted alongside, putting it in the mid-twenties. It has a pale golden hue in the glass, and simply enchanting aromatics, starting off with autumnal scents of crushed apples, then developing more caramelised notes, going into tarte tatin, along with nuances of sweet oranges, chalk dust, lemon balm and barley sugar. This is followed by a wonderfully tense palate, with more apples, lemon zest and chalk dust, along with a huge grip and energy. This is a demi-sec of fine balance and poise, energy and texture, especially in the finish which is brimming with character. A beautifully balanced but seductive style. Drink now or hold.' 96 points, Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor, September 2018.
'The wines of Philippe Foreau could perhaps be considered the ultimate expression of the Vouvray vineyard. He exhibits great care in tending his vines, has a reasoned approach to his work in the vineyard, and in the cellar there is minimal manipulation and the restrained use of older wood for fermentation ... When he allows a little sugar in the wine, in the demi-sec cuvee in particular, this immediately leads to an electrifying balance of all Vouvray should be, pure, off-dry, fresh and capable of evolving great complexity.' Chris Kissack, The Wine Doctor.
This great Vouvray estate was founded in 1923 (5 years before the Huet family) and is now run by Vincent Foreau who took over from his father Philippe in 2016. Their cellar master Hubert Vacher has been working with the Foreau family since the 1970s and this small and beautiful domaine has remained at just 11.5 hectares in size (less than 1/3 the size of Huet who are their neighbours across the little street). Clos Naudin does not relate to a single "clos"owned by the estate but rather the family have numerous holdings that have remained the same for decades. Three quarters of the family holdings are located above the village on the famed Premier Cote, centred on the Les Perruches vineyard, adjacent to Le Mont.
Work in the vineyards is all done with minimal inputs and vines replaced using massale selection. Hand harvesting and natural-yeast fermentation in mostly aged 300 litre barrels and without malolactic conversion, results in wines of crystalline purity. Younger vines are mostly used for their excellent sparkling Vouvrays.