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2023 Vouvray “Les Fondraux”

Champalou
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Crafting impeccably balanced, off-dry wines like this is no simple task, but the Champalou Fondraux rolls over the tongue so fluidly that you might be tempted to think the berries tasted just like this when they were picked off the vine. It comes down to masterful winemaking, in which precision and savoir faire replace the need for technological intervention to create a velvety, suave Vouvray that oozes class. The contrast of ripe, succulent Chenin Blanc fruit with a spike of flinty minerality is like licking honey off an arrowhead.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2023
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Chenin Blanc
Appellation: Vouvray
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Champalou
Winemaker: Catherine & Didier Champalou
Vineyard: 45 years average, 4 ha
Soil: Clay, Limestone, Flint
Farming: Sustainable
Alcohol: 12.5%

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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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Vintage Chart

Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch

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