Great Wine Values: Clos de Nouys Vouvray 'Demi-Sec' Loire Valley, France

It’s apple season in Pennsylvania, when orchards offer up a delightful array of these crunchy fruits in every color in the spectrum, from brightest green to deepest red. White-wine lovers are almost always apple fans, as a quirk of winemaking leads most whites to taste more vividly of apples than they do of grapes. This is true of many white wine grapes; pinot grigios often evoke the taste of green apples, for example, and chardonnays more often resemble golden apples, or even baked apple desserts. But no white grape’s wines taste quite as appley as chenin blanc, a grape native to the Touraine district of France’s Loire Valley, where the town of Vouvray makes the finest wines. Vouvrays can be still or sparkling, sticky sweet or bone-dry, but the most popular are those made in the lightly-sweet demi-sec style, like this classic example from one of the region’s top vineyards, Clos de Nouys. Retaining a hint of natural sweetness constrains a wine’s alcohol content, producing tangy wines with a delicate texture that feels almost sheer in the mouth. This delicious sweet-tart example tastes as crisp and fresh as a Granny Smith, with aromas of river stones and wildflower honey.

Clos de Nouys Vouvray “Demi-Sec,” Loire Valley, France, $13.99 (regularly $16.99, sale price through Oct. 29)  PLCB Item #7802.