The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
2012, Alexandre Monmousseau “Ammonite” Vouvray Sec, Loire Valley, France
The appellation Vouvray is located in the Touraine in the Loire Valley, and is home to the Chenin Blanc grape (known there as Pineau de la Loire). Though produced with 100% Chenin Blanc, the wines of this region are quite diverse and include still, spritzy and sparkling styles that range from bone dry to rather sweet. From the perspective of range and exceptional ageability of the best vintages, Vouvray is similar to German Riesling (both have the potential to age for over 30 years and still maintain lively freshness – very unusual for white wines).
Vouvray is categorized for levels of sweetness ranging from sec (dry) to moelleux (dessert-like sweetness), although the category sec is the only one that is regulated, requiring the wine to have no more than 8 grams/liter of residual sugar. Because even the driest categories have a touch of residual sugar, Vouvray is a great choice with spicy foods, particularly Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisine that are redolent with fresh herbs, ginger, and fiery chiles with a hint of sweetness.
This particular wine is in the “sec” category – though there is no perceptible sweet taste (just luscious fruitiness), the small amount of residual sugar shows itself in the texture, which is like a touch of silk on the palate. Initial aromas of stony minerality and hints of peach and mango lead to a mouthful of bright tangy tropical fruits – mango, guava, and a citrusy finish. This is a great wine to enjoy with Vietnamese summer rolls, spicy kimchi, or green curries. It’s also a lovely aperitif to enjoy with light pre-dinner nibbles.
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