Vouvray Wine: The Delightful White Wine of France’s Loire Valley

Vines and church at Vouvray France – August 2016 – The bell tower of the church of Notre Dame et Saint Jean Baptist surrounded by vines above Vouvray in the Indre et Loire region of France

Vouvray wine is a French white wine made from the Chenin Blanc wine grape. Picking up a bottle from the Loire Valley is a great place to start. Wine lovers enjoy Vouray because of Chenin Blanc’s rarity compared to other popular varieties like Sauvignon Blanc.

Vouvray Wine: Taste and Sweetness Levels

As you browse among the wide range of white wines at your local wine store, one question is probably going through your mind. Will I like this French wine from the Loire Valley? Ultimately, the best way to answer this question is through direct experience. Buy a few wine bottles and try them.

Still, you probably want to know what to expect when you open a bottle? Okay! Let’s take a look at the wine’s flavor profile.

Fruity Notes

The tasting notes for dry white wines usually taste of rose, honey, and fruit (so ensure you know which white wines are dry). Sparkling wines may have notes of cooked fruit.

Serving Temperature

It varies depending on the style. With sparkling wines, chill the bottle to 8 degrees Celsius (46 Fahrenheit). Dry wines do not need to be as cold: 11-12 degrees Celsius (51-53 Fahrenheit).

Level of Sweetness.

As with many wines, sweetness levels vary with this type of wine. Vouvray wines are made in several ways, like sparkling wines and still wines. If you want a dry wine, look for “Sec” on the wine label. Look for “Demi-Sec” or “Moelleux” on the wine label if shopping for dessert wines. Prefer off-dry wines instead? Look for “tendre” on the wine bottle label.

Where Vouvray Wine Is Made: Climate and Wine Regions

Vouvray wine is made in a few wine regions around the world. For simplicity, let’s focus on two areas: the Loire Valley of France and South Africa.

Loire Valley Vouvray

There are several popular wine varieties produced in the Loire Valley. The most significant grapes include Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gamay. The wine region is generally considered a cool climate. The Loire River and Atlantic coast have a moderating effect on the wine climate.

French wine bottles are usually labeled by geography rather than wine grape. Therefore, you might see the word “Vouvray” and “Loire” on a bottle of Chenin Blanc wine. However, Chenin Blanc is unlikely to appear on the wine label in most cases.

Loire Valley Vouvray Wines Under $50

Use the following wines as a starting point in your wine shop. I found these wines based on the excellent database created by the wine experts at Wine-Searcher.com.

  • 2015 Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Le Haut Lieu’ Demi-Sec (wine critic score: 93 out of 100)
  • 2018 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Clos Baudoin (wine critic score: 93 out of 100)
  • 2018 Domaine Vincent Careme Vouvray Sec (wine scritic score: 91 out of 100)
  • 2014 Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Clos du Bourg’ Demi-Sec (wine critic score: 92 out of 100)
  • 2018 Domaine Sebastian Brunet Vouvray Les Pentes de la Folie (wine critic score: 93 out of 100)

South Africa’s Chenin Blanc 

In the 2000s, my first encounter with the wines of South Africa did not leave a good impression. As a student, I tended to pick up wine bottles with a low price tag. As it turns out, the lowest-priced wines are not that great! Today, South Africa Chenin Blanc is well made and competes against Vouvray.

Wine expert Jancis Robinson points out that South Africa has more Chenin Blanc grapes planted than France. That’s not all. Winemakers in South Africa have been working hard to boost the quality of their Chenin Blanc since the 1990s. Those efforts led to the great of the Chenin Blanc Association in 2000.

When you visit the wine shop, what exactly should you look for? Ask for bottles with the Certified Heritage Vineyards seals because that is a marker of quality. Specifically, the seals mean that the wine is made from older, well-established wines. Note that South African wines may not use the word “Vouvray” because that word refers to a wine-making area in France.

South Africa Vouvray Wines Under $50

Courtesy of the wizards at Wine-Searcher.com, here are some of the best-reviewed South Africa Chenin Blanc.

  • 2019 Botanica Chenin Blanc (critic score: 96 out of 100)
  • 2018 Domaine Huet Vouvray ‘Le Haut Lieu’ Moelleux (critic score: 93 out of 100)
  • Mullineux Straw Wine (critic score: 93 out of 100)
  • 2018 Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin Blanc (critic score: 92 out of 100)

Vouvray Food Pairing

The food pairing that works best will vary depending on the wine style. If you pick up a bottle of sparkling Vouvray as a champagne alternative, then cheeses like Brie, Beaufort, and Gruyère are your friend. Given the range of styles in France, it is helpful to check the wine producer website for specific pairing suggestions. Some wine fans like to drink white wine as an aperitif with goat cheese which is another good option.

With drier wines, fish dishes are recommended, such as salmon and seafood stews. Soft chooses are also considered a good match.

For wines aged in 300-liter oak barrels or 500-L wooden barrels, you will taste different notes in vanilla and butter. To fully appreciate the impact of oak in wine production, compare a bottle of wine aged in age and one aged in a neutral container like stainless steel.

The world of food wine pairing goes far beyond cheese and fish. The best way to find food pairings you like is to experiment and see what you enjoy. The second best way is to get inspiration from the book “Big Macs & Burgundy: Wine Pairings For The Real World.” For more details on why “Big Macs & Burgundy” makes a great wine book gift, check out my review: 10 Reasons Why “Big Macs & Burgundy” Is The Best Food Wine Pairing Book In The World.

Vouvray Wine Travel

Tasting Vouvray wine is a great idea to consider for your next trip to France. The Loire Valley is filled with chateaux (i.e., French castles and palaces), so the architecture and history go well with the region’s beautiful wines. The Vouvray wine region is located a short drive from the city of Tours. From Tours, you can easily visit the following magnificent historic sites in France and enjoy the Loire river.

Château de Chambord

Distance from Tours: 1-hour drive (78 km)

Originally built as a hunting lodge for Francis I, the Chambord eventually became an icon of the French Renaissance. More than half a million people visit the Chateau annually. Like other chateaux, the building and grounds suffered during the French Revolution. However, much of the damage has since been restored. 

Château Chenonceau

Distance from Tours: 45-minute drive (34 km)

This Renaissance castle is impressive on several points, including architecture and an extensive art collection. Whether you are interested in Rubens, Van Dyck, or other masters, this castle has much to excite the interest of art lovers. The Chateau’s website offers excellent information, including the option to buy tickets online and see photos of the ground. You can also dine in the chateaux restaurant. Enjoying a bottle of wine at French chateaux is a perfect wine tasting setting.

Château du Clos Lucé

Distance from Tours: 36-minute drive (25 km)

This French Chateau stands out from others because of its most famous resident: Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to da Vinci, the castle itself is full of history dating back to the Middle Ages.

Learn About French Wines In A Weekend

To dive deeper into the world of French wines, learn more about the country’s wine production. You might not be able to get an invitation into France’s most exclusive wine cellars. In just a few hours, you can learn the nuances between each popular grape variety, sweet wines, and sparkling wine. To learn more, pick up the Great Course “The Everyday Guide to Wines of France” by Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan on Audible. You can also see my full review of the course here to find out if it is right for you: The Everyday Guide to Wines of France (Audible) Review – Learn French Wine In An Afternoon.

Vouvray Wine: The Delightful White Wine of France’s Loire Valley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top