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Domaine Huet

“Like Clouds of Chenin Floating Over Your Palate” [Gibb]—Breathtaking Chenin from a Biodynamic Icon...
Domaine Huet
We gate-crashed Domaine Huet on their penultimate day of harvest this year. Timing! Regardless, Benjamin Joliveau was manning the press with a smile on his face when we arrived, and Sarah Hwang, as passionate as ever, took time out to take us through the 2022 wines and some notable museum releases.
 
To cut to the chase, 2022 has delivered a wonderful set of wines at every level and style here. They are incisive, driven, mineral and long, and they are certainly more layered and complex than their 2021 counterparts at the same stage. Deliciously so. Indeed, the only downside for the domaine is that it had to drop a lot of fruit at harvest due to uneven ripening caused by dry weather. So, while volumes were not as initially hoped—especially after losing three-quarters of the crop in 2021—there were plenty of smiles regarding the quality.
 
Instead of making a long offer even longer, we are omitting our own tasting notes for now. And besides, Rebecca Gibb MW has written some cracking reviews on the wines. My favourite quote has to be Gibb’s take on the 2022 Clos de Bourg Sec: “If you can't find pleasure in this wine, you're dead.” Boom! Then, on the 2022 Haut Lieu Moelleux: “You'll struggle to find many producers in the world who can achieve this balance.” Kapow! And, of course, the quote used in the title of this offer, which refers to Huet’s wines in general, deserves another mention. Kazam!
 
This year's museum releases come from a vintage that Huet’s legendary cellarmaster, Noël Pinguet, always believed had great potential: 2003. Twenty years on, Pinguet had every right to be excited about the future of the vintage (as a 100-point Wine Advocate score for Cuvée Constance illustrates). Not only are the wines grippingly complex, but they are also amazingly youthful and bright.
 
For more details on Huet’s stellar vineyards and the domaine in general, please visit their producer page.

The Wines

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut 2019

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut 2019

Only the best grower Champagnes have the kind of interest, sense of place and attention to detail this sparkling wine offers. Bottled at a low pressure of 2.5/3 atmospheres (most Champagnes are between five and six), this wine has a more delicate fizz than most. The fruit is all estate-grown (certified biodynamic) and comes from the youngest vines in Huet’s Première Côte vineyards. Crafted in a hybrid méthode ancestrale style (only natural sugar in the must was used for the second fermentation), it’s made in years that favour dry wine production.

Disgorged in October 2023 following 36 months on lees in the Huet cellars, the 2019 release has just over 1 g/L residual sugar and was dosed with the 2018 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux. To quote sparkling wine authority Peter Liem on the style, “...it’s a magical, intensely expressive wine, and ridiculously inexpensive for the quality”. 

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut 2019
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022

Le Haut-Lieu was the estate’s first vineyard, purchased in 1928. Situated on the Première Côte, it’s a 9-hectare plot on deep brown chalky clay (known as aubuis). Here the yellow limestone (tuffeau) bedrock lies up to four metres down, making for a richer soil that produces round, supple wines that can drink very well young. It generally produces the earliest maturing of the three cuvées and is usually ready to drink first, but, like Clos du Bourg and Le Mont, the wines can be extremely long-lived. We have enjoyed bottles from the ’40s that are still drinking very well!

“The 2022 Le Haut-Lieu Sec is a lithe, reductive style with floral character and talcum powder. Full of phenolic, lip-smacking texture woven through its core, lending a sense of satisfying grunt to this dry yet balanced style. Clarity, precision and harmony are keywords in this wine's execution. A little more fleeting on the finish than ideal. (5.5g/L).”
92 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022 (375ml)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022 (375ml)

Le Haut-Lieu was the estate’s first vineyard, purchased in 1928. Situated on the Première Côte, it’s a 9-hectare plot on deep brown chalky clay (known as aubuis). Here the yellow limestone (tuffeau) bedrock lies up to four metres down, making for a richer soil that produces round, supple wines that can drink very well young. It generally produces the earliest maturing of the three cuvées and is usually ready to drink first, but, like Clos du Bourg and Le Mont, the wines can be extremely long-lived. We have enjoyed bottles from the ’40s that are still drinking very well!


“The 2022 Le Haut-Lieu Sec is a lithe, reductive style with floral character and talcum powder. Full of phenolic, lip-smacking texture woven through its core, lending a sense of satisfying grunt to this dry yet balanced style. Clarity, precision and harmony are keywords in this wine's execution. A little more fleeting on the finish than ideal. (5.5g/L).”
92 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2022 (375ml)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec 2022

Perched on the Première Côte, just above the town of Vouvray, Clos du Bourg is a monopole and generally regarded as the greatest of the three Huet single vineyards. It has been farmed by the domaine since 1953 and was purchased in 1963. Arguably the region’s greatest vineyard, Clos du Bourg makes some of Europe's most powerful, thrilling and long-lived white wines. With only one metre of topsoil over solid limestone, the vines immediately tap into the mineral resources underfoot. The warmth of the site, combined with the mineral complexion of the soils, results in rich, long-lived wines that seem to effortlessly combine intense, charged minerality with generous texture and concentration.

“The 2022 Clos du Bourg Sec is a perfumed meadow: all florals, talc and lilac. It is charming, mellow, smooth and oh-so-easy. If you can't find pleasure in this wine, you're dead. That said, there is a sense of purpose and of knowing itself. (6.5g/L).”
93 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec 2022

Purchased in 1957, the steep, rocky, eight-hectare vineyard of Le Mont lies on Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte, part of a bank of limestone-rich hillside vineyards overlooking Tours. This block's argilo-siliceux soils (stony with green mineral clays and flint over limestone) provide the tight structure and pungent minerality that Le Mont is renowned for. With less clay (and a different type of clay) and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, this site typically produces the nerviest wines of the Huet stable, so mostly dry and off-dry whites are produced from this vineyard.

“The 2022 Le Mont Sec is a parcel of Chenin planted on clay with scattered flint, giving a certain tension to the style you certainly don't find in the come-hither Clos du Bourg. Its supple, concentrated core of fruit sits within a framework of structure. Both acidity and phenolics add tension and sinew. While some natural residual sugar remains (5.5g/L residual sugar), this rounds out the palate and brings balance—it's near-as-dammit dry in its impression and technically dry under Vouvray's rules. I'd like to see this with a little more bottle age as, compared with, say, Clos du Bourg, this isn't yet ready to approach but should blossom.”
95 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec 2022

Le Haut-Lieu was the estate’s first vineyard, purchased in 1928. Situated on the Première Côte, it’s a 9-hectare plot on deep brown chalky clay (known as aubuis). Here the yellow limestone (tuffeau) bedrock lies up to four metres down, making for a richer soil that produces round, supple wines that can drink very well young. It generally produces the earliest maturing of the three cuvées and is usually ready to drink first, but, like Clos du Bourg and Le Mont, the wines can be extremely long-lived. We have enjoyed bottles from the ‘40s that are still drinking very well!

“The 2022 Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec is juicy, though never generous, but still a comforting Vouvray that remains focused; there's sufficient tension from the acidity despite the season's warmth. Welcoming and friendly from the off, there's fine fruit here with a pretty talc note. It has a sense of persistence and presence that elevates this wine from purely a fruity Chenin. Really charming.”
91 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2022

Perched on the Première Côte, just above the town of Vouvray, Clos du Bourg is a monopole and generally regarded as the greatest of the three Huet single vineyards. It has been farmed by the domaine since 1953 and was purchased in 1963. Arguably the region’s greatest vineyard, Clos du Bourg makes some of Europe's most powerful, thrilling and long-lived white wines. With only one metre of topsoil over solid limestone, the vines immediately tap into the mineral resources underfoot. The warmth of the site, combined with the mineral complexion of the soils, results in rich, long-lived wines that seem to effortlessly combine intense, charged minerality with generous texture and concentration.

“The 2022 Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec is round and appealing, akin to a cozy night in with your slippers on; there's flesh and succulence, but it retains its shape and a sense of lightness on its feet. The ripeness of white stone fruit reminds me of nectarine and a heady floral character reminiscent of honeysuckle, even verging jasmine. And yet, it shows its pedigree in its fine texture and line. (RS 17.5g/L).”
94 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2022 (375ml)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2022 (375ml)

Perched on the Première Côte, just above the town of Vouvray, Clos du Bourg is a monopole and generally regarded as the greatest of the three Huet single vineyards. It has been farmed by the domaine since 1953 and was purchased in 1963. Arguably the region’s greatest vineyard, Clos du Bourg makes some of Europe's most powerful, thrilling and long-lived white wines. With only one metre of topsoil over solid limestone, the vines immediately tap into the mineral resources underfoot. The warmth of the site, combined with the mineral complexion of the soils, results in rich, long-lived wines that seem to effortlessly combine intense, charged minerality with generous texture and concentration.

“The 2022 Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec is round and appealing, akin to a cozy night in with your slippers on; there's flesh and succulence, but it retains its shape and a sense of lightness on its feet. The ripeness of white stone fruit reminds me of nectarine and a heady floral character reminiscent of honeysuckle, even verging jasmine. And yet, it shows its pedigree in its fine texture and line. (RS 17.5g/L).”
94 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2022 (375ml)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec 2022

Purchased in 1957, the steep, rocky, eight-hectare vineyard of Le Mont lies on Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte, part of a bank of limestone-rich hillside vineyards overlooking Tours. This block's argilo-siliceux soils (stony with green mineral clays and flint over limestone) provide the tight structure and pungent minerality that Le Mont is renowned for. With less clay (and a different type of clay) and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, this site typically produces the nerviest wines of the Huet stable, so mostly dry and off-dry whites are produced from this vineyard.

“The 2022 Le Mont Demi-Sec is less fruity and charming than, say, Clos du Bourg; its tension and line come from its flinty terroir. Despite its 21g/L residual sugar, it retains a sense of tautness without being totally linear. Radish and pear notes linger on the long finish. This is grown-up demi-sec.”
95 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 2022

Le Haut-Lieu was the estate’s first vineyard, purchased in 1928. Situated on the Première Côte, it’s a 9-hectare plot on deep brown chalky clay (known as aubuis). Here the yellow limestone (tuffeau) bedrock lies up to four metres down, making for a richer soil that produces round, supple wines that can drink very well young. It generally produces the earliest maturing of the three cuvées and is usually ready to drink first, but, like Clos du Bourg and Le Mont, the wines can be extremely long-lived. We have enjoyed bottles from the ‘40s that are still drinking very well!

“The 2022 Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux is a supple, tender style. It's delicate on the palate while succulent and medium-sweet, which is quite a feat. You'll struggle to find many producers in the world who can achieve this balance. It has a fine, delicate fragrance of apple, pear and even a hint of celery. The finish is gentle, with a fine texture lightly coating the palate. A little shorter than I'd like ideally, but still super stuff. (47g/L RS).”
93 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2022

Purchased in 1957, the steep, rocky, eight-hectare vineyard of Le Mont lies on Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte, part of a bank of limestone-rich hillside vineyards overlooking Tours. This block's argilo-siliceux soils (stony with green mineral clays and flint over limestone) provide the tight structure and pungent minerality that Le Mont is renowned for. With less clay (and a different type of clay) and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, this site typically produces the nerviest wines of the Huet stable, so mostly dry and off-dry whites are produced from this vineyard.

“The 2022 Le Mont Moelleux is a medium-sweet, tender style that is just so welcoming and appealing. It is the quiet type that doesn't show off. It offers breadth without weight, which I always like about the Huet wines - they're like clouds of Chenin floating over your palate. A fine floral and fruity fragrance reminiscent of lilac, pear and pineapple lingers off the tranquil finish. While the acidity in 2022 is a little gentle, it still has enough tension to sweep up the wine and hold it all together. A little more length and line would elevate it further. (51g/L RS, in case you're interested).”
94 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2022 (375ml)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2022 (375ml)

Purchased in 1957, the steep, rocky, eight-hectare vineyard of Le Mont lies on Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte, part of a bank of limestone-rich hillside vineyards overlooking Tours. This block's argilo-siliceux soils (stony with green mineral clays and flint over limestone) provide the tight structure and pungent minerality that Le Mont is renowned for. With less clay (and a different type of clay) and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, this site typically produces the nerviest wines of the Huet stable, so mostly dry and off-dry whites are produced from this vineyard.

“The 2022 Le Mont Moelleux is a medium-sweet, tender style that is just so welcoming and appealing. It is the quiet type that doesn't show off. It offers breadth without weight, which I always like about the Huet wines - they're like clouds of Chenin floating over your palate. A fine floral and fruity fragrance reminiscent of lilac, pear and pineapple lingers off the tranquil finish. While the acidity in 2022 is a little gentle, it still has enough tension to sweep up the wine and hold it all together. A little more length and line would elevate it further. (51g/L RS, in case you're interested).”
94 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2022 (375ml)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux Première Trie 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux Première Trie 2022

Le Haut-Lieu was the estate’s first vineyard, purchased in 1928. Situated on the Première Côte, it’s a 9-hectare plot on deep brown chalky clay (known as aubuis). Here the yellow limestone (tuffeau) bedrock lies up to four metres down, making for a richer soil that produces round, supple wines that can drink very well young. It generally produces the earliest maturing of the three cuvées and is usually ready to drink first, but, like Clos du Bourg and Le Mont, the wines can be extremely long-lived. We have enjoyed bottles from the ‘40s that are still drinking very well!

“The 2022 Le Haut-Lieu Premiere Trie Moelleux is supple and fine with a high level of purity and finesse. It's delicate, light and precise despite its 95g/L of residual sugar.”
93 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux Première Trie 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Première Trie 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Première Trie 2022

Perched on the Première Côte, just above the town of Vouvray, Clos du Bourg is a monopole and generally regarded as the greatest of the three Huet single vineyards. It has been farmed by the domaine since 1953 and was purchased in 1963. Arguably the region’s greatest vineyard, Clos du Bourg makes some of Europe's most powerful, thrilling and long-lived white wines. With only one metre of topsoil over solid limestone, the vines immediately tap into the mineral resources underfoot. The warmth of the site, combined with the mineral complexion of the soils, results in rich, long-lived wines that seem to effortlessly combine intense, charged minerality with generous texture and concentration.

“Just 650 bottles of the 2022 Clos du Bourg Premiere Trie Moelleux were made, and it is sweet, gentle and round. It fills the mouth with its sweet caress, exuding pure flavors of toffee apple, caramelized pear and pineapple. While sweet, it is less unctuous than you'd expect from many sweet wines from warmer sites due to the climate and soils, bringing a sense of cleanness and fine texture on the finish. That said, the lower acidity of this year means it's not quite as long and linear. A recent bottle of 2003 with similarly low acidity aged well, so I expect the same here. (105g/L).”
93 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux Première Trie 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie 2022

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie 2022

Purchased in 1957, the steep, rocky, eight-hectare vineyard of Le Mont lies on Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte, part of a bank of limestone-rich hillside vineyards overlooking Tours. This block's argilo-siliceux soils (stony with green mineral clays and flint over limestone) provide the tight structure and pungent minerality that Le Mont is renowned for. With less clay (and a different type of clay) and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, this site typically produces the nerviest wines of the Huet stable, so mostly dry and off-dry whites are produced from this vineyard.

“Despite its 125g/L of residual sugar, the 2022 Le Mont Premiere Trie Moelleux is balanced, fine and long. Yes, its sweetness fills the mouth and makes it blossom, but there's no suggestion of unctuousness or weight. It has a tranquility as if it has just finished a weekend on a retreat, calmly coating the palate with its curves. In 2022, its tender acidity makes for a gentle conclusion with a delicate floral fragrance. Nevertheless, the refined, chalky tension pulls this wine through, bringing line and length.”
95 points, Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie 2022
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

Le Haut-Lieu was the estate’s first vineyard, purchased in 1928. Situated on the Première Côte, it’s a 9-hectare plot on deep brown chalky clay (known as aubuis). Here the yellow limestone (tuffeau) bedrock lies up to four metres down, making for a richer soil that produces round, supple wines that can drink very well young. It generally produces the earliest maturing of the three cuvées and is usually ready to drink first, but, like Clos du Bourg and Le Mont, the wines can be extremely long-lived. We have enjoyed bottles from the ‘40s that are still drinking very well!

“The residual sugar is 90 g/l, says Jean-Bernard Berthomé. The aromatics, despite the vintage’s reputation as a heatwave year, are spot on. This is classic evolving première tri Vouvray, a melange of limestone minerals drizzled with a a sweet honey caramel, intertwined with a wonderful citrus freshness and lift. It seems delightfully promising. The palate, I am happy to report, follows on from this first impression quite beautifully, the fruit and minerals resting on a bed of sweet caramel, and although this is not a vintage rich in botrytis I do detect a little note here too. The wine as a whole maintains a very fine balance too throughout. A very impressive, broad, imposing wine with a long and cleanly balanced finish. Delicious.”
18.5/20 points, Chris Kissack, Wine Doctor (January 2016)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

Perched on the Première Côte, just above the town of Vouvray, Clos du Bourg is a monopole and generally regarded as the greatest of the three Huet single vineyards. It has been farmed by the domaine since 1953 and was purchased in 1963. Arguably the region’s greatest vineyard, Clos du Bourg makes some of Europe's most powerful, thrilling and long-lived white wines. With only one metre of topsoil over solid limestone, the vines immediately tap into the mineral resources underfoot. The warmth of the site, combined with the mineral complexion of the soils, results in rich, long-lived wines that seem to effortlessly combine intense, charged minerality with generous texture and concentration.
Despite the warm and dry growing season, 2003 was a stellar year for Huet’s sweeter styles, and the Clos du Bourg Moelleux is beautiful today. While we cannot find a review for this label, to give you some idea of the quality on offer from this vintage, The Wine Advocate’s Stephan Reinhardt rated the 2003 Moelleux 1er Trie from the same vineyard 98+ points (while the Cuvée Constance received a perfect 100-point score). Twenty years of age and going strong, the palate is mind-blowing and decadent, with a kaleidoscopic array of honey, brioche, orange zest, and spicy/mineral notes washing across the palate. With such purity, spicy intensity and perfumed length, it is a pure joy to drink and—take it from us—the bottle disappears almost as quickly as it is opened. The balance and complexity here are geared towards simple, delicious desserts—it would be hard to beat a great apple pie or the best cannelés bordelais you can lay your hands on.

Domaine Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

Purchased in 1957, the steep, rocky, eight-hectare vineyard of Le Mont lies on Vouvray’s esteemed Première Côte, part of a bank of limestone-rich hillside vineyards overlooking Tours. This block's argilo-siliceux soils (stony with green mineral clays and flint over limestone) provide the tight structure and pungent minerality that Le Mont is renowned for. With less clay (and a different type of clay) and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, this site typically produces the nerviest wines of the Huet stable, so mostly dry and off-dry whites are produced from this vineyard.

“Residual sugar 75 g/l. A richer golden hue than the wine just tasted – but as that was the 2009 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux it is not really a fair comparison, as we have jumped six vintages here. A very classic style aromatically, a little honey here, quite pure in character, poured over fresh apples, with a little biscuity richness to it. A very overt substance to the palate, polished, quite broad, open, feeling relaxed and a touch loose, a vintage effect I think. Underneath this rich flesh there is some quite fine acidity though. It really opens up in the palate and shows great richness and the acidity comes out a little more. It is certainly not flabby, showing some grip and balance, although it is very much a wine of the vintage.”
17/20 points, Chris Kissack, Wine Doctor (February 2013)
Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux 2003 (Museum Release)

“No matter what the vintage or the wine style (including sparkling), the quality is always extraordinary and clearly reflects the excellence of their terroirs. The chiseled, contoured mouthfeel and precise minerality are unique in the Loire.” *** 2023 Guide Vert, La Revue du Vin de France (one of only eight domaines with the highest three-star rating).



“‘Domaine Huet’ means ‘I make the best damn Chenin Blanc on the planet’ ...” Mike Steinberger



“No matter the site or the sweetness level, there is an ethereal and elegant quality to these wines that defies scientific analysis” Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous

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