Domaine Huet in Vouvray - famous for some of the world's best Chenin Blancs

Among French white wine varieties, Chenin Blanc is still less well-known than Chardonnay from Burgundy or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Yet this grape variety from the Loire produces some of the greatest wines in France - and has done so for centuries.

Domaine Huet in Vouvray is one place where this has been demonstrated for around 100 years. Vouvray is located in Touraine and is characterised by tuffeau, a white to yellow limestone that was also used to build the castles on the Loire. It lends a special acidity and minerality to the Chenin Blancs, which used to be produced exclusively sweet in Vouvray. Huet has also cultivated this style since it was founded in 1928 by the legendary Gaston Huet, but has also been producing dry versions for a long time. The ageing of the wines at Domaine Huet has always followed the course of the vintage. "It is important that the wines remain pure, energetic and balanced and that we see our terroirs through the lens of each unique growing season," summarises Sarah Hwang.

Sarah Hwang has been running the winery since 2012, when her family took over from the Huets as there was no successor. The transition was smooth at the time, as Sarah had been working as part of a team with oenologist Jean-Bernard Berthomé and Benjamin Joliveau, the man in charge of the vineyards at the time, through which he had already roamed as a child, as he practically grew up on the estate. Today, Sarah and Benjamin are the successful team, as Jean-Bernard Berthomé has retired. "For me, it's important that we are recognised as a team," says Sarah, describing her work. "We are a small team, as the domaine only covers just under 30 hectares. We have a corporate culture in which everything can be said and everything is put on the table. I'm sure that's also what makes us successful, because in the end we keep getting better."

In fact, the style of the wines has been further refined in recent years and the wines have become even more precise. The winery produces sparkling wines, dry wines (Sec), semi-dry wines (Demi-sec), late harvests (Moelleux) and the so-called Premier Trie, a Moelleux from the first harvest, which in the tea business would be called a first flush. "We look at what nature offers us vintage by vintage. And that's how we decide which wines to make," says Sarah, summarising the winery's range. in 2019, there was only one sec from each of the domaine's three sites, Le Haut Lieu, Le Clos du Borg and Le Mont. in 2021 there were only three secs and in 2022 there was the full range of sec, demi-sec, moelleux and premier trie from all sites.

The result is fine, elegant yet powerful wines that can age for decades. They differ clearly from Burgundy wines in terms of flavour and structure, but are often in no way inferior to them in terms of complexity and depth. Instead, they display a playful lightness combined with a deep spiciness and vibrant minerality that is rarely found in this pure form in Burgundy. This class is also reflected in the high scores awarded by Stephan Reinhardt of Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate. The four wines we are offering you were awarded between 95 and 97 points. They are among the great white wines of France from the 2017 to 2020 vintages.

Wines of Domaine Huet in Vouvray

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