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2009 Domaine des Aubuisières Vouvray Cuvée de Silex

2011 February 21
by Mike

Whenever my wife and I entertain, I like to serve a bunch of different wines. For me, dinner parties double as focus groups: I am curious to see which wines generate enthusiasm and which ones get panned or ignored.  Of late, no wine that I’ve uncorked has elicited more praise than the Domaine des Aubuisières Vouvray Cuvée de Silex, from France’s Loire Valley (I am using “uncorked” in the figurative sense here, since the wine is bottled under screwcap). Our guests have impeccable taste: Bernard Fouquet is a gifted winemaker, and his Cuvée de Silex, sourced from three vineyards all rich in siliceous soils (hence the wine’s name), is a consistently delicious chenin blanc that also happens to be one of the best values on the market today. While nominally dry, the Silex has just enough residual sugar to be described as sec tendre, a term applied to wines that straddle the line between dry and off-dry. But the perception of sweetness is more than offset by the ample minerality and acidity that this cuvée typically shows. Of course, turning friends on to wines like this can be self-defeating. Several months ago, I brought a bottle of the Silex to a potluck cocktail party. The attendees included a couple we’d recently had to dinner and to whom I’d served the Silex. The husband immediately recognized the wine, and he, his wife, and another couple proceeded to drain the bottle before I managed to get a glass. I’m pouring Yellow Tail the next time they come over.

The 2009 Domaine des Aubuisières Vouvray Cuvée de Silex ($17.99) has a terrific nose marked by lemon, apple, honey, and chalk aromas, along with a winsome floral note. Full-bodied and rich, the wine shows a touch of sweetness in the mouth, but it is leavened by an enthralling minerality that completely coats the palate and carries through the long, refreshing finish. A superb Vouvray that will pair nicely with salmon, poultry, cheese, and milder Asian dishes, and the quality-price ratio is unbeatable. A-

Importer: Weygandt-Metzler.

6 Responses leave one →
  1. Bill permalink
    March 2, 2011


    Thanks for the heads-up on the Weygandt retail store here in DC. I’ve been so happy with MacArthur Beverages that I never bothered looking into other options. Good to know!


  2. March 1, 2011

    Dear Steve,

    My pleasure. If you give the Silex a try, let me know what you think. It should be readily available in the DC area; Peter Weygandt is the importer, and his stuff is widely distributed there. And, of course, he now has a retail shop in DC.

    Northern Virginia seems to be home to number of very dynamic specialty importers these days, which is great for wine drinkers in that area.

    I am with you regarding Loire chenins; such terrific and distinctive wines, and they have the added virtue of generally being very affordable. I have not had the Pierre Frites, but I will take your recommendation and try to find a bottle.

    Thanks very much for the note, and for visiting the site.


  3. Steve G permalink
    March 1, 2011

    thanks for the heads up on this one. your description reminds me of a particular favorite of my guests, the cuvee jurassique from domaine du pas st matin in saumur. their ‘regular’ bottling, called pierres frites, is nearly as wonderful. it’s imported by one of our fine independent importers in northern virginia, wine traditions, and it’s only in a handful of other markets. loire chenins may be my truest wine passion, after burgundies and champagne.

  4. Bill permalink
    February 27, 2011


    I’m looking forward to giving the Silex a whirl. As for the Louis Martinis, you can find them anywhere (yup, even Costco’s got ’em). They’re QPR gems in the great American ocean of mass market cabs. Yes, there’s the usual oak and vanilla elements, but it’s far from overwhelming, and they just tend to have more balance and class than you’d ever expect from a $15-$20 cabernet. I can imagine the ’47 was just stupid good.


  5. February 25, 2011


    It is a seriously good Vouvray, and well worth seeking out. As for the screwtop–the Silex is also under screwtop, and I think it will definitely change minds about the quality of wines sealed that way. There are problems with screwtops, of course, but that’s another story for another time….Huet is just brilliant, I adore Chidaine, and the Ridge Three Valleys is terrific, too. I haven’t had any recent Louis Martini, but I went to a tasting a few years ago of older Louis Martini–as far back as 1947–and they were brilliant. I’ll try to post those notes one of these days.


  6. Bill permalink
    February 25, 2011


    I’ve never had this particular wine, but it sounds great. No doubt, good Vouvrays are like the go-to, no-fail, QPR studs for use at parties or as gifts (Dr. L is up there too, but you always run the risk of folks thinking it’ll taste cheap because of the screwtop). You bring anything by Huet and Chidaine to the table, and you’re sure to make most everyone happy. For the reds, Ridge Three Valleys or Louis Martini (Napa or Sonoma) can always serve as dependable crowd pleasers.

    Anyhow, thanks for the tip!


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