Region: Vouvray, Loire
Variety: Chenin Blanc
Terroir: limestone-rich clay soils
"Philippe Foreau is the third generation of the Foreau family to produce Vouvray from this fabled domaine which his grandfather purchased in 1923. Philippe assumed the direction of the domaine in 1983 upon the retirement of his father, André. Today, the domaine consists of 11 1/2 hectares planted to Chenin Blanc.
We started our relationship with the Foreau family in early 1982 when André Foreau was still running the domaine. Our first purchases included the magnificent Vouvray Brut Réserve 1977 and Vouvray Moelleux from the 1976 vintage. Over the years, we have had the distinct pleasure on many occasions of enjoying older treasures from these marvelous cellars, courtesy of the generosity of both André and now Philippe Foreau. This kind of learning experience reveals the extraordinary capacity of the noble Chenin Blanc grape, when planted in the prime vineyard sites of Vouvray and managed by a talented and dedicated family such as Foreau, to develop complex flavors and aromas and seductive textures that are inimitable and grand.
The vineyards of the Domaine du Clos Naudin are located in the northeast corner of Vouvray, sited mid-hill with 100% south/southeast/southwest exposures. The principal vineyards are known as “Les Perruches” and “Les Ruettes”. The average age of the vines is approximately 45 years. Yields over the past 10 years have averaged 33 hectoliters per hectare. The vineyards are tended pursuant to organic methods – without the use of herbicides and worked with organic fertilizers. Production levels are approximately 30,000 bottles per annum of still wine and 25,000 bottles annually of sparkling wine made following the traditional “champagne” method.
Harvest is done manually with numerous passes through the vineyards to select ripe grapes bunch by bunch. Crush is done with a pneumatic press and fermentation occurs in barrels of 300 liter size. The barrels are of varying age with a renewal of about 5% annually. Malolactic fermentation never occurs. The wines ferment slowly in the cave over a two month period at about 16 degrees Centigrade. The wines are racked twice before bottling which occurs for the still wines normally in mid-May of the year following harvest. Foreau never chapitalizes his wines; demi-sec and moelleux cuvées are only made in years when the grapes naturally reach a high degree of ripeness. The sparkling wines remain on the lees for at least 48 months to achieve maximum richness and complexity; disgorging occurs once each quarter. In exceptional vintages, Foreau produces a “reserve” bottling of sparkling Vouvray that carries the vintage year on the label.
Philippe Foreau’s wines age remarkably well. Each wine exhibits an extraordinary panoply of flavors and aromas of fruit, floral and earth elements. Because we believe so strongly in these wines, we make a considerable investment in our stocks so that we maintain a series of older vintages for your pleasure." Neil Rosenthal