The vineyards of Vouvray

The Superb Vouvrays of Vincent and Philippe Foreau at the Domaine du Clos Naudin, 2014 - 2016!

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Vincent and Philippe Foreau make some of the greatest Chenin Blancs in the world at the Domaine du Clos Naudin in Vouvray - we are happy to offer a representative selection of these superb wines from excellent recent vintages.

Philippe Foreau

A bit of History - The estate dates back to the early 20th century and was officially established in 1923 by Philippe's grandfather Armand. (Poniatowski {Clos Baudoin} and Pinon were prominent growers at the time.) Armand ran the estate into the 1960s - his daughter Germaine married Gaston Huet and his son André took over the estate and enlarged the cellars. André's son Philippe was born in 1957 and joined his father after military service in 1980, taking over officially in the cold, wet vintages of 1983 and 84. Things improved from 1985 onwards with Philippe making superb sweet wines in 1989 and 1990, joining Huet, Pinon and a few others at the top of the appellation. Philippe's son, Vincent, now works with him and beginning in 2016 the label reads "V. Foreau" so the fourth generation is here!

Vineyards - Most of the estate's vineyards lie on the "première côte," the most important being "les Perruches," on Turonian limestone with clay with a high concentration of flint stones ("silex") that brings a distinctive mineral character to the wines. Higher on the slope are a group of vineyards called "Les Ruettes" on limestone and clay, without silex, that bring more power and concentration to the juice. According to Chris Kissack in "The Wine Doctor," the Foreaus feel that blending the juice from both terroirs is essential to making the style of Vouvray that they prefer. Thus, normally four different still wines are produced with the difference due to the level of residal sugar rather than terroir or vineyard sites. Farming here is organic, although a systemic fungicide may be used, very rarely, in a year with an intense attack of mildew in order to lessen the use of copper sulfate. The older vine parcels are plowed, while grass is maintained between the rows of younger vines, no herbicides or pesticides are used.

Winemaking - The vinyards are harvested by hand in successive "tries," a pneumatic press is used (the first in Vouvray, installed in 1976), fermentation is in 300 liter barrels with wild yeasts. The malo does not occur, due to the cold cellar and high acidity of the juice. SO2 is used sparingly during vinification, aging is in barrel, about 5% new due to replacements.

Brut and Brut Reserve - Grapes from the younger vines are used to make Champagne method sparkling wines (normally about 1/3 of the domain's production) with the NV Brut spending 3 years sur lie and the vintage Brut about 4 years. A Brut Reserve is made in the best vintages which spends 5 to 8 years sur-lie and perhaps some of you remember the special 2002 Reserve which spent 11 years sur lie...sensational wine!

Sec and Demi-Sec - The style at Foreau is to make Sec and Demi-Sec wines that are drier than those of most Vouvray producers, often a bit austere in their youth and always extremely expressive of the terroir. Grapes used in the Sec cuvée are generally harvested at 12 to 13.5% alcohol with the resulting wines having only two to five grams of RS per liter. A Demi-Sec is not made every year, but grapes harvested at over 13.5% alcohol are used, producing wines that are generally at 15 to 20 grams per liter. In contrast, Francois Pinon often made his superb "Trois Argiles" and "Cuvée Silex," designated by terroir, that were over 20 grams per liter of RS.

Moelleux and Moelleux Reserve - The moelleux wines at Foreau are an amazing combination of high acidity, intense minerality and beautiful, silky sweetness. These extraordinary wines provide thrilling early drinking and will cellar indefintely. The Moelleux, such as the 2015 offered today, are from late-harvested fruit (above 16% potential alcohol) with little or no botrytis, with the finished wine normally having 60 to 80 grams per liter of residual sugar. When conditions permit, a later harvested Moelleux Reserve is produced from botrytised fruit, with a much higher level of RS, usually 120 - 200 grams per liter. In 1947, 1990, 2011 and 2015 the cuvee "Goute d'Or was produced from botrytised fruit in minute quqntities.

2014 One of my favorite recent vintages in Touraine, Anjou and the Pays Nantais, combining great medium-weight purity of fruit and vibrant acidity. The two 2014s in today's offer will give scintillating early drinking and will age beautifully.

2015 Philippe Foreau likens 2015 to 2002, a great vintage for Loire whites with great balance and ripeness though perhaps the 2015s are a bit lower in acidity. At any rate, a great vintage for the Moelleux from "passerillé" fruit.

2016 Another vintage with firm acidity and perhaps more density and weight than the 2014s, close to 1996 which was a great high-acid vitage for sweet wines.

“No other white wine in France has the capability to age like Vouvray,” says Philippe Foreau, so perhaps this offer is most appropriate for those of you with cellars, but all the wines are well worth experiencing in their youth!

Prices are net, wines arrive Thursday 9/15. Thanks to Neal Rosenthal's madrose.com and especially to Chris Kissack's thewinedoctor.com for background and historical information. Please note:  thewinedoctor.com is devoted to the vineyards and vignerons of Bordeaux and the Loire. The writing is informative and interesting and the tasting notes are uniformly accurate - a subscription is highly recommended!

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Foreau (Domaine du Clos Naudin) 2014 Vouvray Sec (Arrives 9/15)

"The 2014 Vouvray Sec from Philippe Foreau of Domaine du Clos Naudin lives up to the potential of the vintage. After pulling the cork the wine displays a pale straw hue in the glass, and the aromatics are wonderfully pure, with scents of orange citrus, lemon balm and smoky mineral streaks. It feels very bright and precise, with much promise for the future, but hidden within there are some little hints of exotic fruit ripeness, including mango and honeyed apricot, a reflection of the very benevolent vintage. The palate maintains this very fresh and tense beginning, showing pithy confidence and substantial energy, carrying a polished melange of mirabelle plum, sweet apple and citrus fruits. Following these first impressions it reveals a great textural presence, underpinned by a bright acid freshness, but also a very fine central core of pithy, delightfully bitter Chenin substance. This is hugely impressive, very long in the finish, clearly a wine of some gravitas, with great backbone and presence" thewinedoctor.com

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $39.99

  • Organic

Foreau (Domaine du Clos Naudin) 2016 Vouvray Demi-Sec (Arrives 9/15)

"Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Demi-Sec 2016: All my encounters with the wines of Philippe and Vincent Foreau in this vintage have thus far been nothing short of mind-blowing and happily this demi-sec doesn’t want to let the side down. The residual sugar is a classic 20 g/l, but it is the intensity set within the wine’s seemingly enviable purity that really entices. The nose is just incredible, filled with the scents of crushed pears dusted with icing sugar, layered with a gentle caramelised-apple sweetness, at all times presented in a beautifully pure, expressive and classical style. It has a delicious presence on the palate, polished and pure, full of citrus fruit pith, the substance and extract of the wine countered very nicely by its acid freshness and depth of orchard fruits. A quite brilliant wine, a truly spine-tingling demi-sec, the true essence of Vouvray, setting the bar very high for the rest of the appellation. And it has great length as well, long and phenolic." thewinedoctor.com

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $51.99

  • Organic

Foreau (Domaine du Clos Naudin) 2015 Vouvray Moelleux (Arrives 9/15)

"Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux 2015: This is the ‘entry level’ moelleux cuvée from Philippe (and Vincent) Foreau, one that is more traditional and typical of the appellation, as opposed to the more botrytis-influenced Réserve cuvée. In this vintage it has a light golden hue in the glass. This does little to communicate the character of the wine, which is hugely impressive, the nose laden with beautifully pure aromas of confit apples and pears, with lightly caramelised edges and a little toasted hazelnut on the side. There follows an incredibly pure palate, polished and seamless, with intense confit apple fruit like that on the nose, swirled with caramel and praline, all very precise, polished and correct. A classic style that speaks very clearly of Vouvray, with great depth and intensity, and fabulous potential for the cellar; give this 20 years and this will be truly stunning." thewinedoctor.com

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $63.99

  • Organic

Foreau (Domaine du Clos Naudin) 2016 Vouvray Moelleux Reserve (9/15)

"Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux Réserve 2016: It is infanticide to broach one of these right now, of course, but if I can’t open one to take an early look, then who can? This displays a polished straw-coloured hue, youthful and pale, not yet showing the deeper hue or intensity that will come with time. There follows beautiful purity on the nose, with concentrated fruit, peach, tangerine and quince with a lemony freshness, dressed with chalk dust, all wrapped up in a sweetly focused intensity. This sense of purity translates onto the palate, with a concentrated and intense style, very textural with grained and bitter concentration, the midpalate swimming with flavours of dried peach, quince, mango and citrus pith. A substantially built wine, concentrated and with a bitter botrytis-driven and phenolic energy, nascent complexity and great length. It is too early to drink now though; if you have any, leave for a decade or two before returning by which time this wine’s true potential will be made real. Hold. From a Loire 2016 tasting at three years. (April 2020)"  thewinedoctor.com

  • Out of Stock
  • white off-dry
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $104.99

  • Organic

Foreau (Clos Naudin) 2014 Vouvray Brut (arrives 9/15)

Grapes from the younger vines are used to make Champagne method sparkling wines (normally about 1/3 of the domain's production) with the NV Brut spending 3 years sur lie and the vintage Brut about 4 years. 2014 is an excellent vintage for Foreau's Vouvray Brut with the firm acidity and vibrant fruit typical of the vintage, and the 4 year sur lie aging gives this wine the ability to age beautifully for 15 to 20 years.

  • Out of Stock
  • white sparkling
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $34.99

  • Organic