Today WineGuyMike™ talks with Scott and Paula about Vouvray 01/26/2011

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Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at

This week’s winner is; Diane Hill Larango

This week WineGuyMike™ received a great question from Diane, and here it is.

Q. Diane Hill Larango asks; What can you tell me about Vouvray Wine?

A. WineGuyMike’s™ answer; Well Diane I can tell you that Vouvray is one of my favorite white wines.  Next I’m going to break this down into a profile of sorts so that as a consumer you can actually find value in my answer to you.

What is Vouvray? Vouvray (voo vray) is a town located near the city of Tours in one of the most recognized wine growing areas of France, the Loire Valley.  This specific area we are discussing, Vouvray, which is located in the central Loire Valley. 

The Loire Valley of France, Vouvray

The Loire Valley of France, Vouvray

A snapshot of the Loire Valley:

The Loire Valley runs across the Northwest region of France following the Loire River from Central France in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.  This northern region of France is cool and produces lighter bodied wines.

  Loire Valley – mostly white grapes, some red.  Wines from this region are dry

  • white – Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc
  • red – Cabernet Franc

  *Wine in this region will be chosen by a style and best years*

  • Muscadet – dry and light, made from the Melon grape, good value
  • Pouilly-Fume – dry, full body, made from Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked
  • Sancerre – slightly dry, medium in body, unoaked
  • Vouvray –  this wine may be dry, fairly sweet to sweet depending how it is made.  This wine is from the Chenin Blanc grape.
  • Reds to consider
    • Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur, from Cabernet Franc

Vouvray is produced in three different styles; dry (Sec), medium-dry (Demi-Sec), sweet (Moelleux, m wah leuh), or as a sparkling wine.

Chenin Blanc grapes

Chenin Blanc grapes

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape that is produced as a standalone varietal or as a blending grape, typically with Chardonnay.  It is dry, very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and full bodied. Nuances of slight spiciness, hints of honey, slight fruitiness.  This can be a very special wine, such as Vouvray, an excellent wine exhibiting many different styles.  It is known as the “chameleon”.

Old World winemakers ferment their wines at a higher temperature and age their Chenin Blanc wines in acacia and chestnut barrels.  This gives them a well rounded wine with a more desirable depth of color to their wine.  On the other hand the New World winemaker will use steel tanks for fermenting and aging to preserve the crispiness, acid, and fruitiness that is delivered using this winemaking style.

Weather has a huge influence in the type of wines that are produced in Vouvray from year to year.  Cool years produce vintages of dry or sparkling wines, while warm years produce vintages of sweet (Moelleux, m wah leuh).  The wines of Vouvray are naturally high in acid and may be aged in some cases up to 100 years.

When we think of terrior the soils in Vouvray consist of calcareous clay which produces Chenin Blanc wines that are rounded and balanced in terms of weight and acid.  Almost all vineyards are planted on sloped plateau with southern exposure next to the streams that run through the area.  This combination lends itself to ideal growing conditions for the Chenin Blanc grapes of Vouvray.

Bottle of Vouvray

Bottle of Vouvray

Chenin Blanc is often described as having a taste profile driven by minerality, greengage, angelica, and honey.  A late harvest or Noble Rot style Chenin Blanc wine produces nuances of peach and honey, as they age though the depth of the wine increases and notes of barley sugar, marzipan, and aroma of quince become evident.  The dry or semi-sweet styles of Chenin Blanc exhibit flavors of chalky minerality, honey, quince, and acacia.  New World winemaking styles with Chenin Blanc produce wines that exhibit notes of tropical fruit that are very aromatic and fruit driven.  Notes of banana, pear, guava, and pineapple are prevalent in this New World style of Chenin Blanc. 

Lunch at Ciao Mambo

This week  WineGuyMike™ recommends the Insalata Mista house salad with a refreshing glass of the Hogue 08’ Riesling from the Columbia Valley in Washington State.

Hogue 08′ Riesling
Columbia Valley, Washington


Hogue 2008 Riesling from The Columbia Valley in Washington State

Hogue 2008 Riesling from The Columbia Valley in Washington State


During the grape growing season, Eastern Washington boasts warm summer days followed by cool nights, ensuring that grapes ripen fully while retaining ample natural acidity.  Even ripening gives Washington Riesling its trademark apricot and tangerine flavors.  The Hogue Riesling has fragrant aromas of apricot, peach, melon, lemon-lime, and a drizzle of honey.  The flavors are a delicate blend of apricot and tangerine, with a pleasing mineral edge and crisp, refreshing acidity.   Slightly sweet, this is the wine to serve with fresh spring rolls, spicy ahi curries or grilled halibut.   Unlike many white wines, Rieslings can evolve and develop complexity with age.  This vintage will continue to delight for three to five years if carefully cellared.

This is a light lunch that is full of flavor and satisfying at the same time.  This lunch combo won’t break the bank either.  So as Brett says “Eat Like You Mean It”, Ciao Mambo on the Hip Strip in Missoula.  Ciao Mambo is open at 11:30 for lunches daily now too.

This wine and food combo receives The WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval©. 

Thank you for being a Fan and please support our Sponsor Ciao Mambo.


"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"



2 thoughts on “Today WineGuyMike™ talks with Scott and Paula about Vouvray 01/26/2011

  1. Mike, The question was actually from my daughter, she had heard that it was good with most foods. Your chamelion description confirms that for us. I have forwarded your answer to her in Tacoma.

    We have not been to Ciao Mambo, very excited to go.


    Diane Larango

    • Diane,

      thank you to you and your daughter, I hope you will enjoy your gift certificate from Ciao Mambo. They have a great wine list to go with their yummy food. Manga, Manga.

      Thanks for listening,


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