While seasonality is a somewhat overrated consideration when it comes to selecting wines – really, it’s okay to drink roses even in the middle of winter – there is no denying that some wines truly do sing at certain times of the year. Now that spring has arrived, Vouvrays are an especially apt choice. Vouvrays are white wines, made entirely of the chenin blanc grape and hailing from the Vouvray appellation in the Loire Valley of France. The Loire is known as the Garden of France, and with their pronounced floral aromas, Vouvrays do evoke thoughts of things in blossom.
Domaine Francois Pinon is a source of some of the greatest Vouvrays. François Pinon is a former child psychologist who took over the estate from his father in the late 1980s. As is the norm in Vouvray, he showcases chenin blanc in all its ambidextrous glory, making dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and even sparkling Vouvrays. The 2011 Domaine François Pinon Vouvray Les Trois Argiles ($20) is what is known informally as sec tendre, meaning it straddles the line between dry and semi-sweet. (The 2011 is not the most recent vintage for this wine; the 2012 is the latest release, but 2012 was a difficult vintage in Vouvray, and there are plenty of 2011s still on the shelves.)
There is a slight, winsome bit of sweetness to the Trois Argiles, but it tastes more like exuberantly ripe fruit than anything else, and it is leavened by lots of refreshing acidity and the chalky minerality that is also typical of Vouvrays. This is a delicious, lip-smacking white that will immediately strike you as an ideal springtime quaffer. Pick up a couple of bottles if you can – spring is here for another two months, after all.