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Chenin Blanc, A Gem Hiding in Plain Sight

Chenin Blanc grapes sorted during harvest in the Loire Valley.
Chenin Blanc grapes sorted during harvest in the Loire Valley.

The experience of uncovering new and emerging wines is one of the great joys of wine connoisseurship. The reality of today’s connected world means the chase can take you to the ends of the earth. But sometimes great wine hides in plain sight. One such wine is chenin blanc from the Loire Valley. A wine too beautiful to ignore.

With great natural acidity, chenin blanc makes wines that range from bone dry to sweet, and every shade in between. Like a powerful dancer impossibly light on his feet, it can be unctuous yet delicate, rich yet light—its versatility only rivaled by riesling. 

The grape is an excellent prism of terroir, refracting the complex elements of its origin. It’s the reason the varietal has been successfully exported to South Africa, Argentina, and the USA. 

The grape achieves its most compelling form, however, in its ancestral home, the Loire Valley, in areas such as Vouvray and Savennieres. Working in clay, chalk, and limestone, the region’s top producers coax a complexity of flavors and textures from this versatile grape.    

One possible reason behind the under-appreciated status of chenin blanc is supply. The best expressions of this grape are generally in short supply and often come at a premium.

Thankfully, we’ve gone straight to the source to bring you a wine of tremendous value.

2019 Domaine Boutet Saulnier Vouvray Sec

Winemaker Christophe Boutet working the vineyards in Vouvray.

Owner and winemaker Christophe Boutet works 12 hectares of chenin blanc vineyards in the heart of the Vouvray region of the Loire Valley. The vineyards are 100% organic and will achieve organic certification in 2022.

The undercurrent of minerality is the most striking element of this wine. There is the unmistakable crystalline clarity. Like a Baccarat tumbler, there’s an elegance in the weight of such a pretty wine. Aromas of white flowers, lemongrass, and citrus overflow from the glass.

At 2.5g of residual sugar, this wine offers structure and power, while finishing dry. This wine is a textbook example of the power of sugar to add texture and weight while maintaining freshness.

Chill the wine moderately, slightly less than other whites. You want to experience the full spectrum of flavor and texture afforded by this noteworthy wine.

Buy: 2019 Domaine Boutet Saulnier Vouvray Sec

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