NV Domaine Du Viking, Brut, Vouvray, Loire Valley, France
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ABOUT THIS WINE
The Vouvray Brut is made from 100% Chenin Blanc from the flint soils in Reugny. Harvested by hand in small baskets and fermented and aged in tank for at least 12 months before bottling. Secondary fermentation is in the bottle with additional aging sur lattes for two years before disgorgement and a minimal dosage.
Its crisp acidity and fruity flavors make it an excellent match for shellfish, such as oysters, scallops, and shrimp. It also complements a variety of goat cheeses, enhancing their tangy and creamy qualities. For a main course, consider pairing it with roasted chicken, grilled fish, or light vegetarian dishes. Additionally, its refreshing nature makes it a delightful accompaniment to fresh salads or as a refreshing apéritif on its own.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
In the early part of the 20th century, most of Vouvray (like much of viticultural France) was worked by farmers in polyculture. Cows, sheep, and grain were raised alongside vines. Such was the case for the land belonging to Lionel and Francoise Gauthier, the owners of Domaine du Viking. Francoise’s grandparents owned just 2 hectares of vines in the early 1940s, along with animals and cereals. Winemaking was something that was done for family and local consumption. All of that changed on August 11, 1944, when Francoise’s grandfather, Maurice, was killed by Nazi soldiers after being caught trying to blow up some train tracks. His young son, Francoise’s father, was suddenly in charge and, to keep the family afloat, converted all of the land into vineyards. The rest, as they say, is history.
Most of Lionel and Francoise’s 13 hectares are not on the famous chalk (tuffeau) soils that make up over 90% of Vouvray but on the hard silex soils of the northern tip of the appellation. This silex produces crisp, mineral, and long-aging Vouvrays that bring to mind great Riesling. The style chez Le Viking (as he refers to himself with only a small degree of irony) is called sec tendre. This “tender dry” style allows for the sugar levels of a demi-sec but with the acidity level of a great Sancerre or Chablis. If you’re into Riesling, you’re probably going to like this style.
It is fair to say that Lionel Gauthier is a bit of a misfit in Vouvray. The son of a butcher from Nantes, Lionel doesn’t come from the area, has (or had at one point) blond hair that is atypical in Vouvray, and eats like a Viking. At least, that is what his friends thought when they started calling him the “Viking” several years ago. After a few years, the name “Viking” had stuck, so in 1989, Lionel decided to rename the property. It can be said without any equivocation that Lionel Gauthier can eat more sweetbreads than you can. Besides that, the man can make a serious Vouvray.