Loire trip 2014: Domaine Vincent Carême – A young challenger in Vouvray

This young estate was founded in 1999 and has quickly made a name for itself as an important domain in Vouvray. The owners; Vincent and Tania Carême, met in Tania’s home country, South Africa, where Vincent gained some of his experience before establishing the estate. Their vineyards are partly bought and partly inherited from Vincent’s parents.


The estate is certified organically and our visit coincided with a visit from the auditor who joined us in the visits to the vineyards, of which the most famous is Le Clos, situated directly behind the estate.

Approximately half of the production is sparkling wine, which is produced either with “méthode traditionnelle” (using a second fermentation in the bottle) or “ancestrale” (made in one single fermentation, where the fermentation is paused by decreasing the temperature during bottling, and then finished in the bottle). The latter method requires good control over the temperature in the cellar. The domain’s ancestrale sparkling is produced from older vines. 

The wines tasted

 

2012 Brut

From clay and flint, limestone subsoil and with 6 g/l residual sugar.
Pleasant apricot and pears on the quite fruity nose.

The wine has quite high levels of acidity, but it does not get too dominant. Very fresh and citric taste, mainly from lime, in this quite slim body. The mousse has a nice creaminess.

This is an elegant and slim wine.

89p/100

2011 Ancestrale

From clay and flint, limestone subsoil and with 5,4 g/l residual sugar.

The nose is crisp and not very generous at the moment. There are some careful notes of fruit, minerals and hints of bread.

The acidity gets quite dominant in the beginning but after a while pear and pineapple appear and complements the citric notes.

An extremely precise and acidic sparkling wine with a fantastic mousse.

90p/100

2013 Sec

This is a blend from different vineyards and the wine is aged in wooden barrels for eight months, with no new wood. The wine has 7 g/l residual sugar.

Amazingly fresh nose with quite careful fruit of lime, pineapple and orange.

The acidity is quite round but enough to give energy to the wine. Similar fruit on the palate, but the lime was replaced with lemon.

This is a very precise, slim and beautiful wine.

90p/100

2012 Le Peu Morier

From soil of clay and flint and with 2 g/l residual sugar. Nine months on wooden barrels, of which 10 percent are new.

A quite fruity and expressive nose with exotic fruit and some apples and floral notes in the background.

In the taste, I also find apricot, some slight notes of lime, minerals and hints of flint and wood. There is enough acidity to balance the fruit but it stays in the background.

This is a quite precise Chenin Blanc with a very nice nose.

89p/100

2011 Le Clos

The soil in Le Clos contains clay and limestone and the wine is aged 12 months in wood of which 20 percent are new. The Le Clos usually has between 6-30 g/l residual sugar, depending on vintage. This vintage is at 22 g/l.

The nose is all about freshness and in the beginning, the fruit is very careful. After a while some young apples and lime appear.

The palate opens up with soft lemon and lime notes together with minerals, and after a while, some exotic fruits joins in. In the finish, there are slight notes of oak, which hopefully will disappear with time.

A very elegant and precise wine where the fruit is discrete but very fresh.

90p/100

2006 Le Clos

This wine has 20 g/l residual sugar.

Quite expressive nose with ripe exotic fruit combined with citric notes, which gives a very pleasant first impression of the wine.

The taste is round with hints of honey and juicy ripe pineapple, and in the background there is a soft tingling acidity that evolves in the finish.

The 2006 Le Clos is an open and generous wine, which has a good balance between acidity and some ripe fruit. Quite complex and with personality.

92p/100

2009 Moelleux Le Clos

This wine has 45 g/l residual sugar.

A nose dominated by fresh honey and some apricot, but also beautiful floral notes develops after some time in the glass.

A great taste where the honey is accompanied by fresh lime and minerals. The acidity is very precise and citric but never dominates.

Fantastic wine with a very fresh and energetic expression even with this much sugar. Denseness and purity in a great combination.

93p/100

2003 Domaine de la Haute Borne, Moelleux Premiér Trie

From before the Domaine name was changed to Careme.

The honey and sugar dominate both the nose and the taste in this wine. There is also apricot and some alcohol. This is a very dense and juicy wine where the acidity plays a smaller role and stays in the background.

There is much complexity to this wine but for me it lacks some fresh acidity to balance the power.

90-91p/100

Summary

This is clearly an estate capable of producing top quality Chenin Blanc with fantastic purity and precision. It will be interesting to see how the wines develop with time, since they have all the characteristics for a long life. Personally, I would prefer not to find any notes of wood in the wines since this removes some of the purity and transparency. Still it has to be said that the wood never got dominant.

I am looking forward to follow the development of this interesting and welcoming estate.

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