For more than two decades, Catherine Dhoye Deruet has worked the estate that has been in her family since 1712. This serene farm sits along the rolling hills of the Vallée Coquette in Vouvray, with six hectares planted to vines surrounded by orchards and the cellars carved into the limestone cliffs beneath her Coteau de la Fontainerie vineyard. While other appellations in the Loire grow excellent Chenin Blanc, or Pineau de la Loire as it is also known, the grape has truly found its home in Vouvray, where varied microclimates and terroirs give way to equally varied styles of wine, from sparkling to dry, off-dry, and sweet.
Catherine’s clay and limestone soils sit on a bedrock of tuffeau, a porous limestone chalk for which the region is known. So that her wines best reflect their terroir, Catherine aims for a somewhat minimalist approach in the vineyards. She farms sustainably and prunes short for low yields (as little as 30-35 hl/ha) to grow small, concentrated crops of healthy fruit. Harvesting by hand also allows her the control to select the best grapes for her cuvees. In an era when the market has gravitated towards mass-produced (and often chaptalized) wines from the region, Catherine has stood apart as one of the finest producers of dry Vouvray, winning awards among her peers. She also bottles equally delicious brut, demi-sec, and moelleux Vouvrays—the latter two of which are only bottled during exceptional vintages and are never chaptalized.