Cellaring potential

Vouvray celebrates 80th anniversary

Mardi 10 mai 2016 par Vitisphere
Article mis à jour le 11/05/2016 09:31:02

Vouvray celebrates 80th anniversary
The Vouvray appellation celebrated its 80th anniversary on April 14, an occasion shared with politicians and journalists which harked back to the past yet also looked to the future and its challenges.

Vouvray was one of the first appellations to be officially recognised in France in 1936. “At that time, the Vouvray name was widely usurped by wines produced elsewhere”, explains Jean-Michel Pieaux, chairman of the Vouvray growers’ organisation. “The history of Vouvray, however, dates back much further, to the 4th century when Saint-Martin, bishop of Tours, allegedly planted the first vines on a hill overlooking the Loire. Later on, in the 17th century, Vouvray wines were already being exported to Northern Europe”.

The iconic Chenin varietal

The appellation currently ships approximately two thirds of its still wines abroad, primarily to the United States, whereas its sparkling wines, which were only developed in the 1940s, are marketed mostly in France. Vouvray showcased the four facets of its offer – sparkling, dry, medium dry and sweet wines – at its 80th anniversary celebrations on April 14. It unveiled a series of paintings signed by artist Michel Audiard on the appellation’s identity and its terroirs that are extremely conducive to growing Chenin. The varietal boasts outstanding cellaring potential, as evidenced by the 1938 and 1947 Vouvrays tasted by journalists invited by the growers’ organisation for the anniversary.

80 years is a respectable age yet still one with plenty of life and freshness”, quipped Jean-Michel Pieaux. “Our appellation has grown both in reputation and acreage – with 2,200 bearing hectares currently producing 107,000 hl in 2015 – and boasts a new generation of wine growers”. Young producers are helping to modernise viticultural techniques. “10% of the appellation’s area under vine is now farmed organically. Many wine growers have introduced mating disruption techniques in their vineyards and are looking to start tillage”, claims Arnaud Hérivault, a young organic wine grower in Reugny. “From an environmental perspective, we must also be vigilant regarding urban sprawl as our vineyards are just a few kilometres away from the city of Tours”. Another challenge for the appellation is to move Vouvray wines upmarket, particularly its sparkling wines in super and hypermarkets.

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