Name: Foreau Moelleux Reserve
Region: Loire Valley
Producer: Domaine du Clos Naudin
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
The Wine Advocate: 97 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.