2021 Vouvray, Sec, Domaine Vincent Carême, Loire
About this WINE
Vincent Carême is a young and dynamic Vouvray wine grower who set up his domaine from scratch in 1999. His is not a family business – his parents are cereal farmers – but his rise to prominence has been nothing short of meteoric. In the quiet and unfashionable Loire, this has, however, gone largely unnoticed.
The estate makes the full range of wines: sparkling, sec, demi-sec and moelleux and he uses organic methods across his vines, with the 14 hectares of vines used to produce his domaine wines being certified. As a means of raising capital and providing extra capacity, he has also set up a ‘négociant’ business, although the majority of the grapes he buys for this are, in fact, farmed by him.
Of the wines we are offering, the ‘Spring’ is négoce, the ‘Peu Morier’ domaine. We feel that his wines represent excellent value for money.
David Berry Green, Wine Buyer
Based just outside Tours, in the Touraine district of the Loire, the small, 2,000-hectare semi-continental Vouvray appellation covers a range of dry, through off-dry, sweet to sparkling styles. Its Chenin Blanc vineyards, perched above chalky tuffeau cliffs give the wines vibrant acidity and a stony, floral and at times waxy character.
Ideally, under perfect skies, the producers aim for moelleux sweet wines, hand-harvested by trie, often imbued with noble rot and rich with residual sugar.
A less successful season would deliver more demi-sec, sec and, if really tough, sparkling mousseaux. Vinification is principally in large, inert vessels such as stainless-steel, old oak foudres and demi-muids. Malolactic fermentation is avoided.
Chenin Blanc is an important white grape variety planted in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine regions of the Loire Valley and the most widely planted varietal grape in South Africa.
In the Loire it produces high quality dry wines in Savenniéres, and luscious sweet, dessert wines in Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. In Vouvray and Montlouis it can be dry, medium dry, or sweet, and still or sparkling. Whether dry or sweet, the best Loire Chenin Blancs possess marvellously concentrated rich, honeyed fruit together with refreshingly vibrant acidity. It is Chenin Blanc's high acidity that enable the wines to age so well.
In South Africa Chenin Blanc is easier to grow and is prized for its versatility. It is used as a cheap blending option with Chardonnay, Colombard, and Muscat but also bottled unblended. The best producers keep their yields low and produce impressive mouthfilling wines.
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Vincent and Tania Carême’s Vouvray Sec is always a benchmark for the appellation and after a succession of warmer, riper vintages, 2021 represents a return to a more classical style. The nose has hallmark notes of green apple, wet wool and crushed chalk, while the palate is crisp, clean and nervy with a keen thread of acidity that builds from the start. That brightness, alongside precise orchard fruit, builds through the palate to give a wonderfully moreish, food-friendly wine. This is a versatile wine which would pair well with seafood, cheeses and roast white meat.
Drink now - 2030
Adam Bruntlett, Senior Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (September 2022)
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