I don’t know about you, but I am getting so sick of this winter weather in Michigan. The other day we had rain/snow/thunderstorm conditions resulting in slush everywhere. I come from one of Germany’s warmest regions, and am not used to these several month long winters that just drag on and on…
On the wine front, winter also means more red wine consumption for me. It comes naturally, but I am also realizing I am getting a tad tired of drinking mostly reds. Always a sure sign winter better be over. I do drink whites during winter as well, but especially the lighter, easy to drink Rieslings often don’t quite feel right, and our treasure chest of good, deeper, heavier Rieslings has been dwindling as of late. The more I relished Nina’s find from a few months ago: The 2012 Domaine des Aubuisières Cuvée Silex, a wine from the Vouvray region. This is definitely a first on this blog: A French white. OMG, what’s wrong with me??
Let me give you some background on Vouvray: It’s an AOC region in the Loire valley in Western France, just east of Tours. The region is France’s largest producer of Chenin blanc grapes, which are naturally high in acidity. Its climatic conditions are favorable to noble rot (botrytis) which is usually helpful in producing very sweet, age-worthy wines (like BA or TBA in Germany, or Sauternes in France). Vouvray also produces sparklers for those so inclined.
Our bottle from Domaine des Aubusières is owned by Bernard Fouquet with 28 hectares under vine. Apparently, Fouquet is a younger guy and has garnered some praise for his wines (see his importer’s page, and there is a pretty cool portrait about the winery from 2009 on the Jim’s Loire blog). He makes single vineyard and cuvée wines. The wine we had, the Cuvée de Silex, grew on clay soils, and has 9 grams of residual sugar per liter (at low end of medium-sweet when you look at German wine law), 6.85 gr/l of acidity, and ticked in at 13% ABV. Nina had discovered it at a tasting hosted by Village Wine Corner, a local wine shop with tons of charme and tastings every other month, and loved it for what she described as “cinnamon wine”. Now you see why this wine could make sense in cold weather, right?
Here are my tasting notes from when we tried it the other day: The color a bright yellow, the nose showed lightly smoky aromas, citrus, and hints of cinnamon (not as much as Nina seemed to remember). The alcohol was noticeable, but not oppressive. On the palate, the first thing I noticed, was how good it felt in the mouth. It had the right amount of – I don’t want to say silkiness, because that wasn’t it; I want to use the word woolly, do you get what I mean? It was heavy enough to warm me, yet showed great acidity which kept it fresh. The feel of this wine had a soothing quality, it made me want to cuddle up with it. Maybe that’s why I am thinking woolly. There were aromas of grape and again, slight cinnamon. The wine tasted dry, the sugar was no issue whatsoever. It paired exceptionally well with some soft cheeses we had (particularly with a Délice de Bourgogne, a triple cream brie type cheese). We shared the bottle with friends and it went down in no time…I am not sure it would drink that well in the summer, but to me, this was a great, great winter white. They exist. We just have to find them!