If the Loire Valley isn't on your radar, it should be. The French wine region is home to a diverse mix of wines and producers, dating back to the Middle Ages. For fans of chenin blanc, Vouvray is the place to be.
The appellation is dedicated almost exclusively to the variety, and producers create it in many forms, from sparkling to still (dry, semi-dry and sweet). Expect high acidity, which allows for longer ageing potential.
It is renowned for being a magical match with cheese (hard cheeses are particularly great with sparkling vouvray), and as value goes, it doesn't get much better. Give these gems a try.
Marc Bredif Vouvray Classic 2021, Loire Valley, France, $36
A chenin blanc so balanced it's practically a tightrope walker. As value goes, this is exceptional. Winemaker Jean-Francois Marchalot oversees plenty of history (the label dates back to 1893) and Marc Bredif is the oldest sparkling wine producer in the Vouvray region. He makes a mean still wine, too. This is bright as a button and will gather depth and complexity with time. The 2020 is smashing too – if you spot it, grab it. 13.5 per cent alcohol. Find it at vintagecellars.com.au
Damien Pinon Vouvray Brut NV, Loire Valley, France, $37
Damien Pinon and his wife Ingrid work magic with sparkling chenin blanc. They do so at their 32-hectare estate in the Loire Valley village of Vernou-sur-Brenne. This is a delightfully dry fizz of endearing approachability. It's playful like a puppy. These guys have a hands-off, natural-fermentation approach and don't make huge amounts of wine, so snap it up while you can. It's a delight. 12 per cent alcohol. Find it at: princewinestore.com.au
Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec 2020, Loire Valley, France, $102
Want to wow dinner guests? It's hard to go past Domaine Huet. It was founded in 1928 and is a jewel in the biodynamic Vouvray crown. This chenin blanc is the perfect dinner guest: approachable, pure and fresh. Lashings of lemon zest flavours make it great as an aperitif, with fish or with rillettes – it'll cut right through the fat. 13.5 per cent alcohol. Find it at princewinestore.com.au