Clos Naudin Loire Valley, France.
This great Vouvray estate was founded in 1923 (5 years before the Huet family) and is now run by Vincent Foreau who took over from his father Philippe in 2016. Their cellar master Hubert Vacher has been working with the Foreau’s since the 1970’s and this small and beautiful domaine has remained at just 11.5 hectares in size (less than 1/3 the size of Huet who are their neighbours across the little street. Clos Naudin does not relate to a single ‘clos’ owned by the estate rather the family have numerous holdings that have remained the same for generations with 3/4’s of the family holdings sitting above the village on the famed Premiere cote centred on the vineyard called ‘Les Perruches’ located beside Le Mont.
Work in the vineyards is all done with minimal inputs and vines replaced using massale selection. Hand harvesting and fermentation in mostly aged 300 litre barrels using only natural yeasts with no malo and minimal SO2 results in wines of crystalline purity. Younger vines are mostly used for their excellent sparkling Vouvrays.
100% Chenin blanc for all wines
2017 Vouvray sec
2017 is a classic cooler vintage for dry Vouvray yielding wines of perfume, finesse and lip-smacking freshness. Aromas of pear candied fruit and spice with hints of honey and that distinctive chalkiness that is so typical of great Vouvray. Fine, brilliantly focused flavours with exceptional texture and length. 5 gms residual.
2014 Vouvray sec
“This pale-looking wine kicks off with an appealing nose, showing a little funk in the first few minutes after pulling the cork, but after a little time in the glass this blows off to reveal scents of baked lemons, sea salt, lime leaf, smoke and stone. In the mouth it shows a textured and honeyed richness at the start, and this runs through the middle, the weight blended with sandy minerals, energy, apricot, peach skin and plum skin with a fine freshness and pithy bitterness. It is bright, pure, a touch challenging in terms of its fruit profile, but energetic and biting in terms of its confidence. An impressive wine overall, and long too. 17.5 • 95/100” Thewinedoctor.com Oct 2015
2013 Vouvray sec
“Residual sugar just 4 g/l here. No malolactic fermentation, no chaptalisation, alcohol 12.4%. Bottled in April 2014, Philippe says the wine doesn't really begin to show well until the following September, so I am tasting it early. The acidity reminds him of the 1983 vintage. A bright and vibrant nose, rather saline as per the 2012 vintage, but with more supple suggestions. A more open and relaxed character on the palate, bright with acidity. Very direct in style. Just a touch more accessible than the 2012. Tasted at the domaine. 15.5/20” Thewinedoctor.com July 2014
2017 Vouvray demi-sec
About 20 gms residual sugar for this finely balanced yet richly expressive off-dry Vouvray. Taught fine crunchy acidity underpins the fresh pear-skin flavours which finish with delicately honeyed orchard fruits. This is a big step up in intensity and character from their dry wines. Malo is deliberately stopped for this wine to ensure ample acidity helping this cuvee to age for 30 years or more with careful cellaring. This is a great Vouvray in the making - and also provides great pleasure now.
2008 Vouvray demi-sec
“I don't have any figures for this cuvée to hand, but in terms of residual sugar and balance it feels very similar to the wines from Domaine Huet and Vincent Carême, tasted alongside, putting it in the mid-twenties. It has a pale golden hue in the glass, and simply enchanting aromatics, starting off with autumnal scents of crushed apples, then developing more caramelised notes, going into tarte tatin, along with nuances of sweet oranges, chalk dust, lemon balm and barley sugar. This is followed by a wonderfully tense palate, with more apples, lemon zest and chalk dust, along with a huge grip and energy. This is a demi-sec of fine balance and poise, energy and texture, especially in the finish which is brimming with character. A beautifully balanced but seductive style. Drink now or hold. 96/100” Thewinedoctor.com Sept 2018
2011 Vouvray Methode Tradionelle (demi-sec sparkling)
“It has a rich golden hue in the glass, looking ripe, with a delicate bead. The nose is all crushed apples, confit pears, tarte tatin, praline, toasted nuts and smoke. There follows a fresh and bright palate, but also a rich flavour profile, sweetly ripe confit fruits, candied apple and dried pear, showing a pithy depth, a very fine-boned mousse and correct acidity. It is a wine which seems to me to convey the very sweet and rich nature of the vintage, 2011 being the first year in which Philippe made a sweet Goutte d’Or cuvée since 1990. 92/100” Thewinedoctor.com September 2018
2017 Vouvray moelleux
For this ‘entry level’ moelleux no botrytised fruit is selected only late harvest with some passerillage. In this wine 60 gms residual sugar with no botrytis and ample acidity giving a seemingly endless finish which finishes very cleanly. Beautiful fine aromatics with ripe pear flavours and hints of spice and saffron. With age notes of truffle and honey and spice evolve beautifully in this beautifully structured wines with exceptional ageing capacity.
2016 Vouvray moelleux “Reserve”
The “Reserve” label of moelleux appears only occasionally in vintages that have the perfect conditions for making great sweet wines. This label is solely for botrytis affected fruit with this wine sporting 130 gms residual sugar. A big step up in intensity and weight and richness with flavours of confit apple and pear with little hints of caramelization with delicate hints of hazelnut all the while underpinned with a very fine vein of acidity and a hint of salinity on the very long finish.
1989 Vouvray moelleux “Reserve”
“A shimmering orange-gold hue, a long way from the usual pale straw or lemon-gold hue you would see in most youthful sec and demi-sec cuvées. Aromatically it is striking, with scents of preserved oranges, minerals, chalk dust, verbena and truffle, showing a lovely citrus vivacity, wrapped within a grey-smoke purity. It maintains this wonderful confidence on the palate where it shows concentrated yet energetic character, rich and yet vivacious, full of intense acid freshness. The flavours and textural weight dance around one another, the midpalate brimming with notes of preserved oranges, truffles, white pepper and vanilla macaroons, this intense flavour profile and evident sweetness wrapped in a sorbet-like purity and energy, tied off with great acidity. These various textures and flavours come together to suggest on occasion iced mango and ginger with the faintest touch of caramel, harmonious and precise, with no flattening out or dulling of the impact as the palate progresses, the wine staying upright and lifted, dancing along right to the finish. It is as you might expect very long, with an almost bitter-pithy vibrancy, but it is that midpalate drive and vivacity that really defines the style. This is a superb, light-footed yet substantial wine that lingers forever. While brilliant now, this clearly has a very long future ahead of it yet. 19.5/20 • 99/100” Thewinedoctor.com May 2017