Domaine Vincent Carême: Two wine worlds collide in the Loire Valley
Text: Katie Turner | Photos © Domaine Vincent Carême
Franco-South African couple, Vincent and Tania Carême, are starting something very special in the wine world. Not only are the couple spearheading the revival of France’s Chenin Blanc grape variety, but they are also passing on their passion for wine to a second generation.
Their sons, aged eleven and eight, have already produced and sold their own vintage. “I tell them they don’t have to get into this, they can do their own thing,” laughs Tania. “But they are already so passionate about tending the vines!”
Vincent, who runs the farm and winery with South African-born Tania, made his first bottle of Vouvray, aged 14, under the watchful eye of his grandfather, who started the farm and winery in 1999. Wine was equally important for Tania as a child too. “There was always wine on the table at home,” she explains. “When I went to university, I chose Stellenbosch, in the winelands, and ended up president of the wine society. It’s my passion.”
The South African connection is important: the couple also make their own wine called ‘Terre Brûlée’, in the Swartland region of the Western Cape. While the Chenin Blanc grape originated in France’s Loire Valley, it is in fact the most widely-planted variety in South Africa. ‘It’s so exciting making wine from the same grape, in Vouvray and the Swartland. It produces wines that pair well with so many foods. Sommeliers in places as far away as New York and Stockholm have started stocking Domaine Vincent Carême,” says Tania.
Their French estate in Vouvray gained organic certification in 2007. “That stamp isn’t the be-all and end-all,” says Tania. “It’s also about using traditional methods to nurture the vines. We still have horses working the land where it’s too steep for tractors and we chose to go down this route because you have to drink wines that you love, produced in the right way. That’s the bottom line for Vincent.”
The husband and wife team are two of the Loire’s most respected winemakers and Vincent is also a mentor to many up-and-coming local producers. “He wants people to travel and experience winemaking in other parts of the world,” says Tania. “It means you come back to France full of new ideas and see the wonderful land here with fresh eyes and inspiration.”
“We want to keep it simple,” she explains. “Let’s do what we love: make great wine, both here and in South Africa.”
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