As always, this sublime bottling is drawn from a series of clay-rich Vouvray sites (argiles=clay) that surround the Clos Baudoin. These include l’Espagnole, la Chatterie, l’Homme and la Reugnières, and le Haut Lieu (the same site of Huet fame). Set away from the river, these sites are mostly populated by 40 year old bush vines, grown on deep, chalky clay over a subsoil of limestone. The fruit is hand harvested with multiple passes through the vineyards and the wine spends 11 months on fine lees. Fermentation occurs with indigenous yeasts and ageing is on lees in wooden barrels (demi-muids) of 600-litre capacity for around eleven months (in total). This wine is 100% Vouvray but is not permitted to be labelled as such because it is fermented and aged across the river in Montlouis. The AOC law (in a section that has historically been ignored) states that if a wine is to be labelled Vouvray, it must be matured within the boundaries of Vouvray itself. For some reason the French authorities have now started cracking down on this (when in the past it was typically ignored) and so Chidaine, whose cellars are in nearby Montlouis, is forced to drop the use of the Vouvray AOC from his labels. No matter, the vineyard name, the region (even though no longer listed on the label) and the quality of the wine remains!
“This has a simply charming nose, very open in style, tangerine fruit marked with minerally veins. The palate shows a little hint of an incisive character at the start, before it relaxes to reveal a broad seam of pithy tangerine, apple and peach fruit. An undeniably ripe style, with tight central seams of chalky mineral and acidity. A very fine result, rich in perfumed fruit, fresh, but true to the vintage.” 93-95 points, Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com