In Vouvray, a family-owned domain has been garnering attention since the 1980s, when Philippe Foreau took over the running. We spoke to him to find out more about his work and passion that he is passing down to his son Vincent.
Moved by the thought that he could continue the work began by his parents and grandparents, Philippe Foreau was the only sibling to take up the family business and continue making wines. When creating Clos Naudin in the early 20th century, his grandfather had bought excellent parcels with soils of clay and flint (the terroir is nicknamed the “perruches”). The flint is an invaluable element to the soil, as it lends great tension as well as notes of smoke, saffron and spices. Clay has excellent water-retention qualities, thus avoiding any problems of hydric stress for the vines. Grass grows between the vines, creating competition for the vine roots by forcing them to dig deep into the soil for their minerals, thus conferring stunning complexity to the Chenin.
Despite this environmentally-friendly approach, Philippe Foreau isn’t looking for organic certification. He admits it frankly: the climate and the terroir can be capricious. Bad weather spells leach organic products and the soils become so muddy that we end up walking knee-dip in mud through the vines. “I have to look after my vineyard and my employees,” he concludes.
Philippe Foreau employs five people at Clos Naudin, who work together on the 12 hectares to produce characterful, digestible, harmonious wines. The yields are limited to 35 hl/ha, malolactic fermentations are avoided in order to retain the wines’ tension, sapidity and aging potential. Some wine enthusiasts tested the aging potential and saw that even after 15 years, the wine hadn’t lost its freshness. Over the years, Foreau has seen many changes: wines which have gained in finesse, purity and length thanks to the reduced use of Sulphur; more discerning harvests (in the past, particularly during the war, bad grapes were not thrown away); new storage for barrels and the banning of insecticides in 2004. Now it’s his turn to pass on all of this expertise and passion to his son Vincent.
Peruse our selection of wines from Clos Naudin currently for sale by following the link.
Vouvray Sec is a fresh wine that combines well with iodised flavours. It is aged in barrels (with 5% new wood). It has a pale hue and a fresh nose, with lemony and mineral aromas. Freshness and purity abound on the palate.
This demi-sec from the terroir of Perruches offers tasting aromas of citrus (grapefruit and blood orange). The wine stands out for its freshness and its remarkable length on the palate.
The exceptional La Goutte d’Or cuvée has only been produced in 1947, 1990, and now in 2015. It is one of the world’s rarest and most legendary wines. It is made in exceptional years, in times of truly uncommon richness in the sugar of the botyrised grapes. The 1990 contained 320 g of natural sugar. All of the grapes come from a single plot and are not sorted. This wine offers aromas of white fruits and quince, as well as a fresh palate of unparalleled refinement and freshness, with perfectly integrated sugars; its body is light, and its length exceptional. A truly remarkable wine.
What the guides say about Clos Naudin
The Revue du Vin de France’s Guide Vert – 3*/3
“When tasting Philippe Foreau’s wines, everything becomes crystal clear, discernible, in the Chenin; complex and delicious, wonderfully ripe yet taut, drinking beautifully young but has all to gain from waiting a decade. Pure and long on the palate, with proverbial persistence, Clos Naudin’s Vouvrays have the consistency of a metronome.”
“Philippe Foreau is a gracious host who raises his wines for the table. He produces Vouvrays with exceptional freshness and sumptuous fruit, wines which easily age for decades.”