Clos de Nouys is the essence of Vouvray. Indeed this 25 acre estate is found just outside the eponymous sleepy village. While the vines are on average 35 years old in this part of the Loire Valley, it’s a comparative young upstart, considering the Vouvray appellation was one of the first to be officially recognised. Clos de Nouys may seem young compared to many French chateaux, but in the realm of Chenin Blanc, they are the specialists. How have they mastered this high-yielding grape variety? That’s simple. It’s all down to the grower.
Ask Francois Chainier what’s so special about Vouvray and he’ll smile wryly while kicking the dirt that surrounds his plots. It may not be scientific, but he is confident in his knowledge. Like all the best earth for vines, this soil has a name and a place in the local culture. Chablis has its Kimmeridgian clay, Rhone its “Galet” stones and Vouvray has Tuffeau. This Cretaceous period limestone is mineral rich and according to many local vignerons, Francois included, it is the reason why Vouvray is so unique. People may disagree over what gives Vouvray its distinct flavour, but at Clos de Nouys it has certainly been harnessed.