Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022, Vouvray, Loire Valley, France

Located in the Vouvray appellation of the Loire region, Domaine Huet was founded by Victor Huet in 1928. The estate has since then been extended to include 30 hectares, and was managed by Victor’s son Gaston. Gaston was joined in 1971 by his son-in-law, Noel Pinguet, and 1979 by chef de culture, Jean-Bernard Bertholme. Together, they crafted legendary wines from their three parcels – with the vineyards and nature dictating which grapes would become Sec, Demi-Sec, or Moelleux. The wines of Domaine Huet are produced from Vouvray’s flagship grape, Chenin Blanc. These terroir-driven cuvees are characterized by a remarkable subtlety and finesse. Le Haut-Lieu is the original vineyard, and it was purchased by Gaston Huet in 1928. Its 15 ha of rich, brown clay soils generally yield the estate’s most precocious and tangible wines. Harvest is by hand, and occurs over 2-3 successive passes (“tries”) through the vineyards. Intact bunches are pressed into a 50/50 mix of tanks and old demi-muids, where alcoholic fermentation proceeds naturally with indigenous yeasts. When fermentations reach their conclusions, the wines are racked into old barrels where they spend the winter before bottling in April. The Vouvrillon grape varieties are composed of a single variety, Chenin, more poetically called “Plan du Clair de Lune”. Although it is often used in sparkling wines in Vouvray, it is a grape variety that wonderfully translates terroirs and vintages into still wines. On the Vouvrillon hillside, at the confluence of oceanic and continental climates, the vines of Chenin are a perfect expression of the land that sustains them. The sorting carried out at the beginning of the harvest refines the precision of each cuvée and contributes to giving the best expression of the terroirs. Dry wines are a perfect illustration of this; vinified in the purest tradition of the house, you can feel the fruitiness of the clays of the Haut-Lieu, the mineral chisellment of the flints of the Mont and the roundness of the limestone of the Clos du Bourg.