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Average critic rating : 97.0 points
What there was in this vintage of botrytis, Foreau reports, essentially went into his 2009 Vouvray Moelleux Reserve. Brown-spiced pear liqueur and quince preserves dominate the proceedings – wreathed in perfume of freesia and lily – and there are buoyancy and elegance, despite viscosity, enormous richness of texture and residual sweetness, that indeed point to the magic nobility rot can convey. Its sense of lift – when combined with luscious, still juicy suggestions of grapefruit and blood orange familiar from the corresponding demi-sec – wards off any risk of palate fatigue. Mysterious botrytis manifestations of stale bread, truffle, and white raisin emerge from the empty glass. This extraordinary achievement will stand with such past great Foreau moelleux reserves as 2005, 2003, and 1989-90 and is likely to merit 30 or more years of consideration. In direct comparison, what strikes one about the 2005 today is its more obvious sense of botrytis and its slightly diminished sense of acidity and lift. But it maintains the edge in sheer complexity. ||Considering that few white wine growers anywhere can boast the track record of Philippe Foreau, his Vouvrays are priced to continue offering wonderful value. This becomes especially (at times depressingly) evident when one compares the much higher prices asked for Chenin from certain appellations further West that have traditionally been treated as superior according to the still rather hide-bound French pecking order, even when they deliver questionable or even dismal results. Buy these wines now, before the market for Loire wine at last becomes a meritocracy! Foreau thinks the high flint content in his sites helped convey minerality even in a vintage as rich (to the point where rendering balanced sec was tricky) as is 2009, but as in other very warm vintages of the past two decades the excitement chez Foreau is at the top end of the must weight spectrum. “I have never in my career had such acidity with this degree of richness,” opines Foreau of his two top 2009s. Alluding to 2008’s record-breaking rains and consequent flooding in certain sectors of Vouvray – which for a critical while rendered it impossible to get into one’s vineyards to treat the vines, other than on foot and with tanks strapped to one’s back – Foreau remarked matter-of-factly: “this vintage stared out badly, but finished well, while 2007 started out well and finished badly” – and just how well 2008 was capable of finishing, there is no better place to witness than in Foreau’s cellar. Foreau opines that working the lees – fashionable anyway now with Loire Chenin and a younger generation – was a mistake in 2008 as it ameliorated the acidity, if at all, at the expense of clarity and focus. eRobertParker.com.August, 2010
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