Among white varieties in the Loire, Chenin Blanc shares the spotlight with Sauvignon Blanc. Chenin is the star of the Touraine region in the middle Loire, while Sauvignon Blanc rules in the east. Both benefit from the cooling influences of the Loire River, France’s longest at 625 miles.
Like many producers, Champalou makes Vouvrays in a range of styles: dry, off-dry, sweet, and sparkling. This one, labeled simply “Vouvray,” is the dry style and is fermented and aged in stainless steel without oak.
On the palate, it’s luscious but not cloying, with ripe tropical and stone fruit tastes combined with citrus and floral notes. It lingers in the mouth with refreshing acidity and minerals, which are hallmarks of Vouvray.
The grapes, which are grown in clay and limestone soils, are harvested by hand and fermented only with indigenous yeasts — reflections of the sustainable farming and winemaking practiced by Catherine and Didier Champalou, who started the winery in 1983.
Their Vouvray, priced at around $24, is a great wine for lighter foods, including all kinds of simply prepared fish, white meats, and Asian dishes (especially sushi).
The Champalous note on their website that Catherine is a 12th-generation Vouvray winemaker, while Didier is the sixth generation from his family. Their stunning 2019 Vouvray is a powerful testament to that tradition.