In a nutshell: A deliciously off-dry style of Chenin Blanc from the heart of France's Loire valley.
The lowdown: The Vouvray area, immediately to the east of Tours on the banks fo the Loire is the heart of Chenin Blanc country. Here this grape variety is used to make wines all the way from fully dry to some of the sweetest liquoreux dessert wines. This one, an off-dry style and something of a niche product these days, is a style for which Vouvray is well known. The grapes for this are hand harvested at the optimim ripeness needed to ensure sugar levels sufficient to produce a Demi-Sec wine. It has lovely aromas of just-picked walnuts, a hint of lime and ripe melon notes while on the palate there are honeyed, cooked apple flavours. The sweetness is perfectly integrated and balanced, resulting in a refreshing wine with good length.
When to drink: Very versatile either on its own or fantastic with cheese, especially goat's cheese. And with fish, hot smoked trout or mackerel works very well.
The story of Boutinot's route to wine making is a bit different to many others in both what they do and how they go about it. As well as growing and making their own wines in France and South Africa they work with a multitude of other producers across the world in putting together good value wines that hit the right spot in the market. And over the years their skill and expertise has built them an excellent reputation.
Things started back in 1980 when Paul Boutinot, who was in charge of sourcing wines for his father's restaurants, disappointed at the quality of wines then available in the UK went to France to look for better quality wines at better prices. This led, in 1989, to him blending his own wines in France and, in 1993, to producing specially sourced wines from South Africa. Over the years they've built on this and whilst still a major distributor of agency wines they now produce wines on their own account in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, USA, France and Spain. While there are many great producers of top quality premium wines around Boutinot's focus unfailingly falls on making value for money wines that don't compromise on quality and time has shown how good they are at it.