Monday, 22 August 2011

Domaine Huet’s 2010 Vouvrays

By Matthew Hemming, Fine Wine Manager

Noël Pinguet and his wife Marie-Françoise
Why, oh why don’t more people drink these wines? Only Riesling can rival Chenin Blanc in terms of versitility and longevity – what other white grape can be made in every style from bone-dry to lusciously sweet to fizzy and have the potential to effortlessly out-live most of us? – yet the great examples of the Loire Valley remain true insiders’ wines and almost criminally under-valued.

In a world where 1st growths cost more than BMWs, the great wines of Vouvray offer a fascinating option for collectors laying down a cellar. Long-lived, complex and fabulous with food, there are real treats in store for those who explore the wines of this region.

Domaine Huet is the leading estate of the appellation. Their wines are exquisitely pure and fine-boned, with the characteristics of each individual vineyard clearly singing through in the glass.

For more information on the vintage, the estate, the region and the specific wines, have a look at Richard Kelley MW’s excellent website –

We recently tasted a range of youthful 2010s in the office. This vintage is the lastest release and is clearly a year where the drier styles really came into their own. Huet have produced a Vouvray Sec from each of their three single vineyards, a single Demi-Sec and a quantity of Moelleux 1ere Trie so small that it is only being offered to private clients of the domaine in France – there are only 800btls of this so if we can eke any out of them at a later stage, I’ll be over the moon!

Le Haut Lieu Sec 2010
Shy and closed up on the nose with only a hint of bruised apple Chenin Blanc notes. With time it does open up a bit and is remarkably clean – without the funky notes you sometimes find in these wines. Quite soft and tendre on the palate, this has a spine of acidity giving it structure but is in no way austere. As it unfurls in the glass it actually becomes quite creamy and spicy. This is going to be a relatively early drinking Haut Lieu. 17/20

Clos du Bourg Sec 2010
The aromas here have precision, focus and spice. Relatively open and forward for a young Huet with piercing green apple / malic characters. On the palate this is riper and fuller than the Haut Lieu yet with more tension – a lower pH, perhaps? It’s vivid, glassy in its texture and bright in fruit with some chalky mineral notes on the back of the palate. Very long and whistle clean. 18.5/20

Le Mont Sec 2010
Resolutely closed and stern on the nose with slight steely / mineral tones. The palate shows similar characters to the aroma – it’s dusty, brooding and muscular, giving very little away at the moment. A tightly coiled spring of a wine that reminds me of a young Corton Charlemagne. There is huge concentration and complexity complexity at the core but this will need a long time to open up. Very long, fantastically intense and promising. 19/20

Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2010
Has a typically dusty / earthy nose. On the palate it’s rich and slightly creamy. Blossom-scented with lively acidity and floral tones. Flavours of stewed apples and spice are rich but balanced by crunchy acidity that just about masks the 25g/l of residual sugar. Still very linear at the moment but it will broaden out with time. Superb, soaring finish. 18.5/20

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