Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec 2017, 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.