Château Valmer is one of the most beautiful estates in the Loire Valley. Its fabulous, manicured formal gardens recall nearby Château Villandry, and thousands of tourists visit the estate annually. Equally celebrated are the estate-bottled Vouvrays grown at Valmer, which typically come in a wide variety of qualities and styles.
Located in the township of Chançay, Château Valmer is owned and managed by the Saint Venant family, which has directed Valmer for several generations. Straddling the Château and its gardens are a series of small hillsides, made up of argillo-calcaire (clay chalk), which is ideal for Chenin Blanc. At Vouvray the vine is near its northern limit in France, and most other grape varieties have a difficult time ripening in this cool environment. But Chenin Blanc is well suited to late-harvesting, and with the Loire’s long growing season, it gives best results when not entirely dry, with balanced acidity.
Château Valmer makes Vouvray in several different grades. From unique glass-lined tanks, which allow optimal temperature control, they make a sec (dry) with less than 1 gram/liter of residual sugar, a demi-sec (semi dry) with 2.6 grams/liter residual sugar, and a moelleux (sweet), not made in most vintages, which is late-harvested and naturally sweet (4% g/l). Because of its low alcohol and perfectly balanced acidity, the moelleux wines age very well and the current release is drinking beautifully at 10 years of age.
Vouvray is famous for its sparkling wines, and Château Valmer makes these as well. Lighter wines with higher levels of acidity are made sparkling by the Champagne method (méthode traditionnelle), finished dry, and the estate also specializes in a sparkling rosé made by the local Grolleau grape. In sum, a visit to Château Valmer will be a day of discovery and delight, from beautiful formal gardens to a gamut of interesting, refreshing wines that are the pride of the Loire Valley.