Here is the second part of W.O.W.’s mini “homage” to Chenin Blanc. Last time we discussed an off-dry style Chenin from South Africa; this time it’s a sweetie from the Loire Valley in France.
Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Moelleux is just one of a stable of wines made by Producer Alexandre Monmousseau. He makes dry styles too but by leaving some grapes on the vines until they begin to get noble rot, he can make sweeter wines. Noble rot, or botrytis, is not just any sort of fungus. If the grapes are ripe it can be welcomed in the vineyard. It ‘consumes’ water from the berries, thereby concentrating the sugars and changing the flavour of the grapes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in a uniform way so grape pickers often have to make several passes (each called a tri) through the vines, selecting the grapes which have the just the right amount/stage of noble rot. This needs expertise and is labour intensive – and consequently often means these wines are more expensive.
Chateau Gaudrelle Vouvray Moelleux doesn’t however have a crazy price tag. It’s £8.99 from Waitrose – although, of course, that’s for a half bottle.
If you thought all sweeties are grapey, unctuous and orangey-gold in colour (like the previously reviewed Passito di Pantelleria), this wine will make you think again. It’s extremely pale in the glass and has a really delicate aroma and apple and honey flavour. Like all good dessert wines, the acidity balances the sweetness so your palate is clean and any cloyingness is avoided.
I think I could quite happily tipple on a small glass of this on its own. However, it went brilliantly with a delicious tarte tatin cooked expertly by W.O.W. friend Michelle. The adjacent picture really doesn’t do the dessert justice.
W.O.W. Factor 6.5
P.S. I’ve also recently had a quick sip of another Loire sweetie from Waitrose – Domaine des Forges 2010 Coteaux de Layon – which is priced at £7.99. It would also do the job with a Tarte Tatin.