2009 Domaine des Aubuisières Vouvray Cuvée de Silex
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-