The Vouvray and Montlouis appellations are located in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley, 10km from the city of Tours and easily accessible by train from Paris.
Although they both enjoy proximity to the Loire river, facing each other across the water, they are quite different when it comes to terroir and wine production.
For one thing, Vouvray lies on the right bank, to the north of the seemingly languorous Loire – the longest river in France – while the lesser-known Montlouis is on the left bank. Nevertheless, the two have the omnipresence of that fabulous white grape variety Chenin Blanc, and their appellation production is limited to white wine.
A grape in common
Chenin Blanc is an alluring grape variety whose origins are enshrouded in mystery. It is not easy to find agreement about it among winegrowers and ampelographers. DNA analyses have not settled the question, but what seems incontrovertible is that the Savagnin grape, of Jura fame, is one of its parents. The jury is out as to the exact identity of the other parent, but Chenin Blanc does have a sibling relation to both Trousseau and Sauvignon Blanc, born of the same parentage.
Chenin Blanc is certainly an astonishing grape variety in its own right, expressive of its terroir origins and capable of producing quality wines in an array of styles. These range from sparkling to dry, off-dry, semi-dry, and all the way to lusciously sweet, including botrytised versions.