Wine tasting in Vouvray: Domaine Pichot

Before May 2014, I wasn’t totally sure what Vouvray was apart from my mom’s favorite wine. Turns out, it’s actually a small town in the Loire Valley and all the wine produced there. It’s an especially nice because it’s easy to pronounce, for a French wine. Voo-vray.

Vouvray is made from Chenin Blanc grapes, so it’s a white wine and sometimes a sparkling wine, and it is yummy. It’s not the most famous wine within France, but it should be because it is delicious enough to make me put down my rosé. If you’d like to know more, I’ll go ahead and direct you to Wikipedia or another reputable source of your choosing, as this is not my particular area of expertise.

If you’re in Vouvray and you’d like to go wine tasting, you should call and make an appointment, especially off-season. Otherwise, busy wine makers will look at you like you are crazy for showing up unannounced, even though their website implies you can. Our lovely hosts at La Bagatelle recommended we check out Domaine Huet, one of the big-wig producers of Vouvray, and it was very nice. My favorite, though, was Domaine Pichot.

So, Domaine Pichot is a family-owned winery in Vouvray (duh) and although they are 100% French, most of their distribution is international, and they’re particularly popular in the United States and Australia. This is the only wine my mother will drink. For the last quarter of a century prior to this discovery, she has been using her olfactories to enjoy wine. That is to say, she wouldn’t have a glass herself, but she’d enjoy smelling other people’s wine, and that was enough for her. I don’t know how she discovered this Vouvray, but my father buys it at Whole Foods by the case for her now. To clarify, he buys a whole case because it’s more practical, not because they are going through bottles at an unseemly rate.

We didn’t come to Vouvray at a particularly convenient time for the Pichots. Monsieur Pichot had some important meetings, and it was his mother’s birthday, and they had to prepare for a dinner. Nevertheless, his lovely wife Caroline took the time to show us around. We saw the big wine barrels, the fancy steel wine equipment, and cases and cases of Vouvray, and she patiently told us all about their family business.

This is a large fancy metal contraption used in the production of wine.
This is a large metal contraption used in the production of wine. I want to say bottling?

The best part was the tasting because we got to drink a lot of delicious wine. Win! (It was a wine win.) My dad went nuts for the Louis Pichot wine, named after their son. It’s not labelled as a Vouvray because apparently they are only allowed to produce so much annually, but instead of letting good wine go to waste, they just labelled it “Chenin.” Problem solved! Chenin Blanc is the kind of grapes Vouvray is made from, remember? Sometimes winemaking makes my head spin. (Sometimes wine does too.)

Vouvray tasting
Bubbles!

Caroline even gifted us a bottle of my mother’s favorite wine. How nice is that?

Vouvray Pichot

Have you tried any Vouvray wines? What did you think? Are there any other French wines I should get my hands on immediately? 

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16 thoughts on “Wine tasting in Vouvray: Domaine Pichot

  1. Lovely post. Makes me want a glass of Vouvray with breakfast :-). I have had some delicious Vouvray and Chenin blanc wines, but it’s definitely more fun when you and your olfactories are right there in the vineyards!

    And you are correct – the whole wine-growing, making, appellation-controlling, selling and distribution rules are convoluted in France and the US !

    1. You are so in the know! I get overwhelmed by all the French wines sometimes, but now I know that Vouvray is a good bet. Glad to hear you like it too!

  2. Oh this makes me long for the summer and meandering around vineyards tasting lovely wine! I’ll look out for Vouvray, I don’t think I have ever tried it. I love trying sparkling wines that are not the usual Prosecco, Cava etc. So nice that they gave you a bottle to take away!

  3. You can’t, of course, live in the Loire and not drink vouvray because everyone has a few bottles in the fridge. It’s great with galette des rois, by the way. We used to have a glass a champagne to start a festive occasion when dining out. In the Loire we soon learnt that we’d pay an exorbitant amount for a run-of-the-mill champagne and next to nothing for an excellent vouvray. So we’ve changed tactics. We still celebrate New Year with champagne at home :).
    Our favourite vouvray is Freslier and we love the people there. http://www.aussieinfrance.com/2013/04/vouvray-and-a-troglodyte-restaurant/. Which reminds me, our stock is getting very low …

    1. Thank you for sharing that post, I liked all the details about the wine! I’ve just realized I won’t get any galette des rois this year, and now I desperately want to eat some (accompanied by a glass of Vouvray!) I will have to call up all the French boulangeries in the area and see if I can get one after all 🙂

      Now I have to ask you a silly question about wine – I noticed that Vouvray wasn’t well-known at all in the Rhône-Alpes where I used to live, and I’m wondering if wines like Côtes du Rhône, which is ubiquitous in Lyon, are as popular in the Loire?

  4. Weirdly I don’t like Vouvray! I don’t like many white wines though I usually love most sparkling wines, just not Vouvray. Red and rosé….now that’s a different matter. I love your mother’s approach to wine, so funny. Thanks for sharing with #AllAboutFrance

    1. Whaaaat?! Haha, just kidding. It’s funny how different wines appeal to different people – I have quite a few friends who wouldn’t touch rosé with a ten-foot pole, but I think there’s nothing better in the summer! I’m a fan of almost anything with bubbles too 🙂

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