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Vouvray Brut

Champalou
Discount Eligible $31.00
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The Champalou family—Catherine, Didier, and their daughter, Céline—are Chenin Blanc specialists: from the vineyards around their home in the heart of the Vouvray appellation, they make wines in every style from the noble Pineau de la Loire, as the grape is also known. Their Vouvray pétillant is crafted in the méthode traditionelle: the secondary fermentation takes place in bottle, and then the wine is aged extensively on its lees—in this case, two years—before being disgorged and recorked. From clay and limestone vineyards, they are able to obtain remarkable complexity in their Brut, while the texture shows both a creamy richness and an austere minerality. For this reason, this wine makes a great bargain alternative to Champagne, but it is important not to overlook the fact that it comes from a terroir and grape variety of its own. The Champalous like to serve it at the end of a meal, but this dry sparkler works well from the apéritif all the way through dessert.

Anthony Lynch


Technical Information
Wine Type: sparkling
Vintage: NV
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Chenin Blanc
Appellation: Vouvray
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Champalou
Winemaker: Catherine & Didier Champalou
Vineyard: 20 years average, 3.5 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone
Farming: Sustainable
Alcohol: 13%

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About The Region

Loire

map of Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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Old cob-webbed wine bottles

Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.