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Domaine Huët 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley

 “The biodynamic Huët estate comprises three key terroirs with clearly identifiable personalities . . . it is justly regarded as the leading property in the Vouvray region.”
- Clive Coates, The Great Wines of France
 
 “. . . Huët Vouvrays can be some of the greatest wines in the world.” - Jancis Robinson
 
Domain Huët is considered one of the great wine properties not just in the Loire, but in all of France.  Huët was founded in 1928 by Victor Huët when he bought one of the choicest parcels, or “lieux-dits”, in Vouvray, Haut-Lieu.  Victor’s son Gaston took over in 1937 and eventually added two more prize vineyards, Le Mont and Clos du Bourg.  Over the next 50 years Gaston built Huët’s legacy as producer of some of the world’s most compelling and age-worthy dry and sweet white wines.  
 
Le Haut-Lieu - The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hectares. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are round, supple and generally the estate’s most approachable when young.  That said, certain vintages can age for 50+ years.   
 
Le Mont - For many insiders, the argument over Vouvray’s greatest vineyard comes down to two sites: Le Mont and Clos du Bourg.  With less clay and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, Le Mont yields young wines of intense minerality and often the most linear and precise wine in the Huët lineup.  With age, the wines develop great length and finesse.
 
Clos du Bourg - Gaston Huët believed this to be the greatest of all Vouvray vineyards. With its shallow, stony soils, Clos du Bourg often produces the most powerful wine in the lineup, synthesizing Le Mont’s intense minerality with Le Haut-Lieu’s generous texture.  The microclimate of the site is slightly warmer and this, along with the limestone complexion of the soil, results in rich and long-lived wines that combine charged minerality with generous texture and concentration.
 
These three expressions of Chenin Blanc are all remarkable.  They are a mosaic of aromatics and dance across the palate with zest and intensity.  They will evolve in the bottle over decades; Huët wines from the 40s and 50s are still drinking wonderfully today.  In the 70s Gaston was joined by his son-in-law Noel Pinguet in managing the vineyards and winery.  Pinguet introduced Biodynamic practices and the domaine has been fully Biodynamic since 1990.  The vines are hand harvested with multiple passes and the wine fermented using natural yeasts, with minimal added sulphur and is only lightly filtered. 
 
The better Loire Chenin Blancs, and Huët Vouvray in particular, have long been regarded as an excellent alternative for those who consider the price of good Burgundy a big stretch.  Our allocation of these bottles is limited.
 
Domaine Huet 'Haut-Lieu' Vouvray Sec 2019
Regular: $46.99
Sale Price: $41.97
 
Wine Advocate, 95pts. – “The deep brown clay soils of the Haut-Lieu plateau provide the typical fruitiness and freshness wonderfully in Huet's 2019 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec. Ripe pear, tangerine and orange fruits with notes of lemon grass and green pimientos intertwined with very fine chalky and later tobacco notes give a remarkably fine, elegant and harmonious, subtly complex and simply gorgeous bouquet with floral (lime blossom!) and yeasty aromas that are immediately attractive. Delicate and linear on the palate, this is a pure, fresh, bone-dry, lean and textured, highly refined and perfectly interwoven Chenin with persistent purity, finesse, salty-mineral tension and very fine tannins. Highly finessed and so pure and vivacious! This is a chalky picture-book Haut-Lieu that can age for many years, even though it is already dangerously seductive! . . . The 2019 is possibly the finest, most delicate and elegant I've had in recent years, at least at this early stage. A terrific and buoyant Vouvray that any Chenin lover should try—or, better yet, cellar! Tasted in July 2020.”
 
John Gilman, View from the Cellar, 95pts. – “. . . The 2019 Le Haut Lieu Sec comes in at an even thirteen percent octane, which coupled to excellent acidity, is likely to make this wine last a hundred years. The beautiful pure and concentrated nose offers up scents of lemon, quince, a hint of pear, complex, chalky soil tones, lanolin and white lilies. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and very precise, with a full-bodied format, a rock solid core, bracing acids and stunning length and grip on the complex and electric finish. I have to imagine that this will drink well for a few years and then close down with a vengeance for a decade or so, after which it will drink for the next eight or nine decades! 2020- 2120.”
 
Domaine Huet 'Le Mont' Vouvray Sec 2019
Regular: $49.99
Sale Price: $43.97
 
Wine Advocate, 95pts. – “Again, Huet's 2019 Vouvray Le Mont Sec reflects the unique, south-facing nine-hectare vineyard with its pebbly flint (silex) and green clay soils wonderfully! Pure, fresh and flinty on the deep, intense yet also floral and herbal nose that represents a concentrated and firm white stone fruit aroma with lemon and grapefruit notes as well as fennel, anise and cumin hints. The bouquet gets darker and stonier with a lot of aeration (during days, to be honest). The leitmotif, though, remains the characteristic mix of aromatic fruit aromas with flint stone and volcanic basalt tones that, at this early stage and poured straight from the bottle, remind me of the Rieslings from Forst, Pfalz (Germany).  On the palate, Le Mont Sec is a rich, lush and round, very concentrated yet silky textured, elegant, vital and tightly structured 2019 with a powerful, intense and long finish with lingering salinity . . . I recommend cellaring this round yet tight and concentrated Chenin for a decade and then drinking it slowly over many years and with, hopefully, even better integrated tannins. Tasted in July 2020.”
 
John Gilman, View from the Cellar, 95+pts. – “The 2019 Le Mont Sec from Domaine Huët is a touch riper than the Le Haut Lieu bottling, coming in at 13.5 percent, but still utterly classical in all respects. The beautifully refined and still quite youthful nose jumps from the glass in a blend of quince, green apple, beeswax, a kaleidoscopic bath of limestone minerality, a touch of orange peel, lanolin and a topnote of dried flowers. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and utterly seamless, with again, stunning mid-palate depth and mineral drive, brisk acids and a very long, nascently complex and laser-like finish . . . I do not think I have ever tasted a young vintage of Le Mont Sec from Domaine Huët that possessed more potential, so just tuck it away for a decade and then let the fireworks begin! 2030-2120.”
 
Domaine Huet 'Clos du Bourg' Vouvray Sec 2019
Regular: $49.99
Sale Price: $46.97
 
Wine Advocate, 97pts. – “The 2019 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec offers a deep, rich yet pure and refined, intensely aromatic, darker-toned nose with aromas of fully ripe stone and tropical fruit intertwined with earthy, chalky and yeasty notes that make up for further finesse and complexity. Full-bodied, round and fruity on the palate, this is a deep, intense, juicy, silky-textured yet tight, chalky, very complex, sustainably structured and persistently salty-mineral Chenin from old vines that give extra concentration as well as a spectacularly expressive character. This is a great, age-worthy Vouvray with fine tannins and lingering salty tension and finesse. What a finish! The 2019 needs a while to gain finesse and even more complexity. The wine served from the bottle that I tasted nine days before was incredibly amazing! The 2019 is a duty for all Chenin aficionados! Tasted in July 2020.”
 
John Gilman, View from the Cellar, 95+pts. – “The 2019 Clos du Bourg Sec comes in at the same octane as the Le Mont and is every bit as pure, precise and chiseled in stone as that wine. The bouquet offers up an utterly refined constellation of quince, pear, limestone minerality, a nice youthful touch of chalk dust, floral tones that are mostly lilies and a shading of lavender, bee pollen, lanolin and a touch of lemongrass in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, beautifully balanced and rock solid at the core, with superb mineral undertow, electric acidity, laser-like focus and a very, very long, nascently complex and rapier-like finish. This seems structurally more like the Le Haut Lieu Sec this year and is likely to provide a couple of years’ worth window of drinkability before it closes down for hibernation. It is stellar juice in the making. 2020-2120.”
 
Past Cellar Selections:
Brunello di Montalcino 2015 – Selected Bottles
Shafer Vineyards – Relentless, One Point Five and Chardonnay
Paul Jaboulet – Majestic Wines from the Northern Rhone
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey – Magic in Burgundy
Don Melchor 2015 – 98pts!
Tignanello 2017
Domaine Lapierre - The Original Natural Winemaker
Muga ‘Selección Especial’ 2015 – Classic Rioja
Domaine A. et P. de Villaine – Budget DRC?
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar
Castilla Ygay 2010 – at 98 pts a ‘First Growth’ Rioja
Chateau Troplong Mondot St. Emilion 2017 – 98pts!
More Great Brunello from 2015 – 99pts Casanova di Neri
Burgundy with age from Jean Chauvenet
Cornas and Côtes-du-Rhone from Franck Balthazar
Quintessa 2016 – 98pt Bordeaux Blend from Napa
 

 

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