A project between Lionel Gauthier and Jon-David Headrick, La Craie is made from fruit grown on tuffeau clay soils near the village of Vouvray. Bottled with between 8 and 12 g/L of residual sugar it is on the lighter side of demi-sec and displays all the winsome charms and flexibility at the table that made Vouvray famous.
In the heart of the Valley of the Kings, in the municipality of Pouillé near the medieval city of Montrichard, the estate vineyards stretch over 40 hectares of vines in the AOC Touraine area.
Backed by ancestral know-how, the Maison is one of the best terroirs of the Loire Valley region. Since 1905, four successive generations have perfected their wine-growing knowledge in order to enable the family business to strive for excellence and to offer its customers exceptionally high quality wines. The vineyard has AOC Touraine vines located on the hillsides of the Cher and the valleys of Loir-et-Cher, which are the best of the appellation's varieties. The over 20 year old vines benefit from an excellent western orientation, on clay-limestone soil, ideal for growing Sauvignon Blanc in particular.
An important white wine appellation in the Touraine and one of the top in all of the Loire, Vouvray uniquely specializes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, and still to sparkling, each with its own definitive character. Vouvray is almost always 100% Chenin blanc (however up to 5% Menu Pineau is theoretically allowed but not often used).
Vouvray is also the name of a pretty little town just east of Tours on the northern bank of the Loire—its vineyards surround it to the northeast. Houses and cellars are carved out of the local tuffeau, a chalky or sandy, fine-grained limestone. Vineyards inhabit clay and gravel topsoil over tuffeau on the plateau, the best of which have a slight slope with a southerly aspect.
Chenin blanc’s high acidity and natural adaptability allow it to produce a wide range of styles with enormous success. Styles under the Vouvray name include sparkling, both Brut and Demi-Sec and still: Sec (dry) and Tendre (off-dry) as well as Demi-Sec (noticeably sweet), Moelleux (very sweet) and Liquoreaux (botrytized). Most can age about five years but the best quality versions will continue to improve over decades.
Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Somm Secret—Landing in South Africa in the mid 1800s, today the country has double the acreage of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. There is also a new wave of dedicated producers committed to restoring old Chenin vines.