Vouvray Moelleux – Les Larmes
“Les Larmes” is only produced when the Chenin Blanc grapes are affected by noble rot, or when the weather allows for a long ripening on the vines. The resulting wine can be aged for several decades in the best vintages. The 40 to 50 year old gobelet vines are grown on a clay/limestone soil in the villages of Chançay and Noizay. The grapes are hand-harvested either during a first passage to collect the grains affected by noble rot (2003, 2009 ou 2011), or during a second passage in October for grains at maximum ripeness (2005, 2014 ou 2015). Aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks and bottled in the Spring following the harvest. 50 g/l residual sugar.
About the Producer
Cyril and Catherine, pictured above, are now running the domaine founded in 1973 by their parents, Christiane and Alain Robert. Cyril trained in Champagne and joined in 2000, followed by his sister Catherine two years later. She brought with her ten years of experience gained in the Loire, including working alongside Jacky Blot at Domaine de la Taille aux Loups.
The property is located in Chançay, just east of Vouvray. The 38 hectares of vineyards, situated around the estate and in the neighboring village of Noizay, are mostly planted with Chenin Blanc, on silex and clay-limestone soil. Chardonnay, Grolleau and Chenin Noir (Pineau d’Aunis) are also cultivated on a few parcels. The domaine produces a full range of Vouvrays, sec to demi-sec, moelleux and liquoreux, as well as some méthode traditionnelle Vouvray and Touraine.
Farming practices: Sustainable. Grass is allowed to grow between the rows and no chemical fertilizer is used. Organic matter is brought in to nourish the parcels, starting at the end of autumn. No pesticides are used - they are replaced by pheromones (racks are placed in the vineyard every spring) to combat grape worms by preventing the reproduction of the moths. Use of copper and sulfur only when needed to prevent the development of mildew and black mildew. Depending on the wines, the grapes are harvested either by hand or machine. When machine-harvested, the damaged grapes are manually removed beforehand in order for the machine to collect perfectly healthy and mature grapes.
Vinification practices: pneumatic pressing – maximum 1.6 bar, in order not to damage the grapes. No chaptalisation, no acidification or de-acidification. Indigenous yeasts for all the fermentations taking place in barrels and for some of the fermentations taking place in stainless steel tanks. Otherwise, use of selected non-aromatic yeasts. In tanks, the alcoholic fermentation is conducted through a temperature-control process. The use of SO2 during all the vinification process and at bottling is kept to a minimum.