Domaine des Aubuisieres, Vouvray Brut, NV
Is this the best value sparkling in the appellation? Although it seems like an open question, the debate is virtually settled at this point. Bernard Fouquet is consistently a benchmark producer in the region, with his wines widely sought after by wine consumers and sommeliers alike. Chenin Blanc reigns supreme in this part of France and it has an underrated versatility that casual wine drinkers usually gloss over, with the ability to make everything from bone-dry whites to sparkling to every level of sweet wine imaginable.
A traditional method sparkler grown on flint and calcareous soils, fermented in a mix of tanks and older barriques, aged 24-30 months before disgorgement with 4g/L of dosage. In non-technical terms, this has great age, no sweetness and a clean, crisp flavour profile.
There's a bready characteristic that stems from the lees aging, ripe lemon and lemon zest, savoury, crisp apples, a hint of exotic fruit and a racy, minerally edge to it that is emblematic of the Loire soils where the grapes are grown. Elegant bubbles with flavour, ripeness and texture that won't break the bank. What more could you ask for?
Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com:
This has a polished, straw gold hue, and despite a good pressure behind the cork it has a very gentle bead in the glass. Aromatically it presents a nose of beautifully fragrant fruit, perfumed with bitter orange zest and honeysuckle, as well as crushed white chalk, chamomile, white freesia and white peach. This cuvée is generally made using purchased fruit, rather than grapes from Bernard’s own vineyards, yet it has no shortage of aromatic intensity. The palate is full and texturally rich, enough suggest a little dosage even though the true figure here is declared as less than 4 g/l, and the flavour profile follows the lead of the nose with complex and bitter Chenin character, lightly dried fruits and minerally smoke all driven through by a delicate acid cut. This is a very complete style, classically Vouvray, with notable length in the finish. A success. 92/100 (October 2021)