Among the top estates in Vouvray, Clos Naudin stands out. They mainly produce still wines, but do make great sparkling wines as well. Philippe Foreau of Naudin doesn't chaptalise so in some years just sec or dry wines are made. Clos Naudin is just 11.5ha and unlike many Loire domaines, remains in family hands. (Domaine Huet was sold to Anthony Hwang in 2003 following Gaston Huet’s death in 2002.) The good news is that Chenin Blanc is unfashionable at the moment, and prices remain low for the quality, even at this top level.
For the technically minded: the vines are on the première côte – close to Le Mont in two parcels planted on argile-silex (clay and flint soil). The wines are not organic, although they are close to it with no weed killers, artificial fertilisers or insecticides. The only non-organic treatment used is to fight mildew and then only when absolutely necessary. One hectare is grassed over to restrain the vigour of young vines. In dry years grassing over can be a problem, so the rest of the vineyard is cultivated annually by hand and horse. The grapes are all handpicked and come from vines that are all over 35 years old. This gives fresh, vinous, juicy, complex wines that age brilliantly.
Robert Parker’s Loire reviewer had to say in 2010: (shortened version)
“Considering that few white wine growers anywhere can boast the track record of Philippe Foreau, his Vouvrays are priced to continue offering wonderful value.” David Schildknecht – The Wine Advocate