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If you’re looking for something a bit different in a white and don’t mind off-dry wines, try some of the Chenin Blanc-based Vouvray wines from the Loire Valley in France. There are many different styles of Vouvrays that range from dry to sweet to sparkling, but the off-dry version is probably the most exported and best known.

These wines are bursting with unique fruit flavors derived from the clay and flinty limestone and chalk terroir on the right bank of the Loire in the mid-western section of France. The town of Vouvray lies just east of the city of Tours, at the eastern edge of the Loire River. The region has a long history of winemaking,. Monks fashioned wines hundreds of years ago, and the appellation of Vouvray was created back in 1936.

The dry Vouvrays can be cellared for many years, but the semi-sweets should be consumed within a couple of years. I tried the Bougrier Vouvray 2008 (about $12 US, $15 Cdn), a semi-sweet but still light and fruity wine, with some mineral notes. It’s an unassuming wine that would pair well with seafood or soft cheese. The Chenin Blanc grape is worth exploring to wake up your palette to some new fruit flavors over the usual Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

Quaffability Rating: 85

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