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A Charming Chenin Blanc (with Bubbles) from François Pinon

The Chenin Blancs of Vouvray are a world unto themselves. They  can be bone dry and electrifying, or lush, tropical and sensually sweet.

Regardless of style, these wines deliver uncommon pleasure. And, in addition to its wealth of  still bottlings, Vouvray offers sparkling wines every bit as delicious as Champagne, at a fraction of the cost.

The source of Vouvray’s success is a knockout combination of soil and climate. Situated on a plateau near the Loire river, the region’s vineyards have a bedrock of tuffeau (porous chalky limestone) overlaid with gravel, flint and clay.

These soils render powerful, mineral, concentrated wines etched with nuance and detail. And because temperatures in the Loire stay cool, grapes maintain searing levels of acidity.

This freshness, crucial in the production of Champagne, is also the key to Vouvray’s great sparkling wine.

Some of the most pitch perfect, crystalline expressions of Vouvray are made by the Pinon family at their old, organically farmed domaine in the Vallée de Cousse.

Sadly, François Pinon, the family's patriarch, and a true master of the region’s magnificent terroir, passed away only a few months ago. The great work of the property is now carried out under the direction of François’ equally passionate son, Julien.

While each wine in the Pinon repertoire is a treat, their bubbles are especially delightful. Today we are featuring the estate’s “Brut Non-Dosé” from the 2012 vintage.

While it is made exactly like Champagne, this vibrant, dry bottling is imprinted with Vouvray’s unique soil structure, showing layers of succulent fruit unique to Chenin Blanc. Spending an incredible seven years aging on its lees, the wine has a luxurious, creamy character offset by a firm, linear streak of minerality.

Finding a sparkling wine this complex and utterly refreshing, with this kind of aging, is rare. You don't want to miss this:

François Pinon, Vouvray Brut Non-Dosé, 2012