Vouvray wine is a lesser-known white wine made from Chenin Blanc. This is because the wine is only produced in the Vouvray Valley in France, which is a little-known town located in the Loire River.
It’s a light-bodied, aromatic, and fruity white wine that’s versatile and flexible in terms of food pairings. In this Vouvray wine guide, you’ll find information on what Vouvray is, where it’s grown and produced, as well as its classifications and food pairings.
What is Vouvray?
Vouvray, pronounced as “voo-vray,” is a white wine made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Vouvray wine is called such because the Chenin Blanc used in its winemaking production is grown in Vouvray, a little town centrally located in the Loire Valley’s Touraine region. All Vouvray is made of Chenin Blanc grapes but not all Chenin Blanc wine is Vouvray.
To understand the label of Vouvray, we have to understand that in France, especially in Old World wine regions, wines get their name from the specific region and can only be called these names when they are produced in said regions. And thus, Vouvray wine is made in Vouvray, France, and nowhere else in the world. The AOC or the appellation d’ origine controlee region of Vouvray is dedicated almost entirely to Chenin Blanc grapes.
Because of the grapes, Vouvray is known for having penetrating acidity and aromas of apple, honeysuckle, chamomile, and quince. But because of the varied climate in the area, Vouvray comes in a wide range of styles, from sweet to dry to sparkling. The most popular Vourary style is brut and demi-sec sparkling, which is made in the same method as Champagne.
In terms of food pairing, Vouvray is almost boundless when it comes to food items best consumed with the wine.
Regardless of Vouvray styles, it is beloved by wine enthusiasts for its light-bodied and delicate floral aromas and high levels of acidity.
In times of winemaking method, production of Vouvray involves a minimalist approach where neutral fermentation is utilized, such as the use of stainless steel. The result is a clean, crisp, light-bodied, and simple white wine that’s refreshing and fruity, with just the right balance of acidity and minerality.
Vouvray comes in still or sparkling wine and its style depends on the sweetness level or level of residual sugar.
This is the driest style of Vouvray at 0-0.4% residual sugar or less than 4 grams in one Liter of wine.
This is the “off-dry” style of Vouvray, with 0.4 – 1.2% residual sugar, or 4 to 12 grams of sugar per Liter.
Moelleux is the French term for “mellow.” It contains 1.2 to 4.5% residual sugar or 12 to 45 grams of residual sugar in 1 Liter of wine.
This is the sweetest style of Vouvray, with 4.5% residual sugar, or 45 grams in 1 Liter of wine. Some Vouvray bottles are labeled with “Liquoreux,” which means “liquor-like” to create the aroma of the syrupy sweetness of the Vouvray variety.
Vouvray wines range in color from a medium straw for sparkling wine to deep gold for aged Moeqlleux. Generally, the aromas are slightly intense with flavors of pear, quince, apple, and honeysuckle. Subtle notes of ginger, chamomile, and beeswax are also sensed, as well as a hint of noble rot.
Vouvray’s climate is varied, and there are months that have cooler weather and areas with warmer climates. This affects the overall taste and sweetness levels of Vouvray wine. In the cooler years, Vouvray wine is dry, while in the warmer years, Vouvray wine is sweeter with noble rot.
Its taste also varies depending on the style. Some Vouvray can be floral and fruity, light or medium-bodied, and full of minerality and acidity.
For Demi=Sec Vouvray, the flavors can be riper, rounder, and sweet, with a high degree of acidity and minerality. For sparkling Vouvray, the taste is simple and fruit, silky, luscious, and complex, making it a great alternative to Champagne.
Because Chenin Blanc has naturally high acidity, Vouvray wine from favorable vintages has high aging potential. Vouvray vintage drinks well into 100 years of age but more common Vouvray wines peak at 40 years of age.
Moelleux can age into several decades and even to a century but for dry Vouvray, they can be ready to drink within 4 to 5 years, and peak at 15 to 20 years of age.
Vouvray and Food Pairings
Vouvray is especially flexible with food since it is offered in a variety of styles. Many food items go well with Vouvray, such as pork roasts, white van sea scallops, lobster, crab, fowl, and many different cuisines.
- Sparkling Vouvray
Sparkling Vouvray is paired well with sushi and charcuterie.
- Dry Vouvray
Dry Vouvray is best paired with lighter fare such as salads, vegetables, souffle, and whitefish. It also pairs well with Loire Valley’s other delicacy, which is goat cheese. Dry Vouvray is also good with pork loin, pork belly, lobster, and crab.
Demi-sec Vouvray pairs well with Asian food, such as the spicy and herb-rich cuisines of Thai and Indian food.
Sweet Vouvray is best paired with baked desserts, foie gras, Tarte titans, and other desserts.
Top Vouvray Wine Brands to Try
The Loire Valley produces inexpensive and top-quality Vouvray, where brands offer bottles that have been aged perfectly. These top 3 Vouvray brands have been highly rated and bestselling, and are definitely a must to try.
1.1990 Francois Pinon Vouvray Cuvee Botrytis
Produced in one of the oldest wineries in the Loire Valley, this vintage Vouvray wine features lush acidity, with notes of apricot, pear, peach, honeysuckle, with a good balance of sweetness and minerality.
2.2008 Domaine Huet Clos du Bourget Premier Trie Moelleux
This Vouvray starts dry and finishes with a sweet taste. It perfectly highlights the stony soil in which it grows, and notes of ginger, lemon oil, green tea, and candied apple are evident, with hints of noble rot.
3.2010 Philippe Foreau Vouvray Brut Cuvee
This vintage sparkling Vouvray is elegant, complex, and sumptuous. It offers hints of pear, aromas of apple, and having notes of chalk, bitterness, and salty sea air. The wine is aged in a 300-Litre oak barrel.
Vouvray wine is made from Chenin Blanc grapes that are grown in the Vouvray town in the famous Loire Valley of France, a popular winemaking region. Vouvray is made from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes and can only be called such if they are produced in the Vouvray town from which the wine is named.
It’s a versatile wine with a wide range of flavors and styles, from sweet to dry to sparkling, making it a varied and beloved wine for its potential neutralness and flexibility with food pairings.