Gautier Vouvray Argilex
Wine Spectator 87 points
“Medium-weight, with pretty quince, apple and humus hints and a nice minerally edge to the finish.”
The Gautier domaine in Vouvray has been in the family for seven generations. The origins are known to date back to the 17th Century, from a document noting the presence of vines around the Gautier house in 1669. Benoit Gautier, the present viticulturer, took charge in 1981. He began the policy of domaine bottling, whereas previously the wines were sold to negociants.
The domaine comprises 12 hectares of vines in the communes of Rochecorbon and Parcay-Meslay. The soil is the classic “Tuffeau” or limestone-chalk for which the central Loire is famous. The average age of the vines is 25 years. Gautier follows a policy of hand-picking for the still wines. The harvest takes place over a period of 20 days in late September and October. The grapes are pressed in a new pneumatic press and fermented and matured in temperature-controlled stainless steel cuvees. The bottling takes place in April or May following the vintage, and the bottles are aged in a permanently cool cellars cut deep into the hillside.
In 2004, Gautier launches a new cuvee, ARGILEX. It derives from white clay (argile) soil mixed with crumbled silex or quartz in specific vineyards; sloping parcels in the communes of Rochecorbon and Parcay-Meslay. The silex particles embedded in clay often glisten in the sunlight. The wine is vinified at cold temperature and fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to highlight the bright, racy fruit. The fine lees are kept in suspension until bottling, as they impart complexity and nuance to the wine.