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Domaine Huet: Breathtaking Chenin from a Biodynamic Icon...

Domaine Huet: Breathtaking Chenin from a Biodynamic Icon...

“No matter what the vintage or the wine style (including sparkling), the quality [at chez Domaine Huet] 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

 

This offer focuses on an exceptional trio of Huet vintages, 2019-2021. We’ll start with the youngest. To be clear, when we use the word exceptional to describe the 2021 vintage, we are referring to the wines alone; the vigneron’s experience was quite the opposite. The bitter and prolonged frosts of April, along with the ensuing mildew-friendly conditions, claimed over 70% of Huet’s potential crop. Sarah Hwang spoke of the most intense and complicated season she has experienced at the domaine, a vintage in which morale was further sapped by the cool conditions at harvest.

Consequently, only three wines were produced from this vintage, all of them dry. But what wines they are. They may be less powerful than in previous years (think 2015-2020), but they lack for nothing in terms of power and energy. Our notes from our visit to the domaine this year are littered with adjectives such as ‘tight’, ‘coiled’, ‘steely’ and ‘tension’; these are exceptional dry wines packed with Chenin electricity. We recommend decanting and not serving too cold. 

2020 effortlessly holds its own against the previous two powerhouse vintages. Following the domaine’s philosophy of allowing each vineyard to express itself in the context of the vintage, with more water in the soil, the dial was once more tuned towards off-dry and sweeter styles. August rains brought botrytis, resulting in some exceptional moelleux and moelleux première trie, a consequence of some of the most precise sorting winemaker Benjamin Joliveau has witnessed at the domaine. It is clear that Joliveau’s first vintage as the leading man is a resounding success: they are Vouvrays of great purity and depth, layered yet underpinned by impressive freshness and killer length.

Following an outstanding 2018 for Huet’s off-dry and moelleux wines, only four wines were made here in 2019: the three electrically charged dry cuvées and a demi-sec from Le Mont. While just as warm as 2018, the conditions in 2019 were much drier, resulting in a small, high-octane crop of intensely flavoured berries bursting with bracing, mouth-watering sec appeal. Put simply, the wines from this vintage are some of the most thrilling and precise we have tasted from this Loire icon: a masterclass in dry Chenin of sublime density and knife-edge tension. Chef de Cave Benjamin Joliveau believes these wines will go down in the pantheon of the great expressions from their respective sites and will age for decades. Translation: put your hands on as many bottles as you can.

We’re also excited to offer, for the first time, the rarest wine from Huet’s caves. In the mid-eighties, Noël Pinguet and Jean-Bernard Berthomé planted an experimental plot of Chenin Blanc on its own roots in the Haut-Lieu. Not only have the vines survived, but they are still thriving and in certain vintages Huet bottles a special, late-release dry cuvée from these vines. 

Finally, we can offer the new vintage of Cuvée Constance—the pinnacle of Huet’s Chenin portfolio—plus the latest tranche of museum releases from 2002, 1996 and 1985. The 2018 Cuvée Constance is undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary examples we have tasted at this address. Regarding the museum releases, our clients need little reminding that Huet’s wines are masters at passing the decades with incredible panache. They are fantastically aromatic whites that dance across the palate with a zest and an intensity that seems otherworldly.

For full information on the domaine and the individual vineyards, and to see the full range, click here

The Wines

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