Triumphant White Wines

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  • By Samantha Dugan
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Triumphant White Wines

Profiled in the book Wine & War, the impeccable white wines from this iconic Vouvray estate continue to thrill us. Here are our latest arrivals from Huet.

Victor Huet, the owner of a bistro in Paris found himself struggling physically and emotionally after the ravages of WW1, made his way to the quiet countryside, settling in  the sleepy town of Vouvray in 1928 where he would purchase a small vineyard and began Domaine Huet. Eventually Victor’s son Gaston joined his father at the winery and put to use his fiercely detailed oriented determination, and radiant charm creating buzz for Domaine Huet as producing wines of exemplary quality in Vouvray.

Gaston did spend fives years away from his beloved winery when he was sent to a POW camp during WW2. While in the camp Gaston found many other French winemakers and their conversations would eventually lead to discussions about winemaking, missing home and how much they missed their beloved wines of home. Gaston, the ever charmer he was, convinced a guard to allow shipments of wine bottles into the camp. Over time Gaston had amassed enough French wine to host a wine party for his fellow prisoners. When the night arrived those men, seven per bottle of French wine, were able to share a moment putting to their lips the taste of place, the taste of home.  Years later, Gaston would tell people that sip of prison camp wine was the best tasting wine of his life.

When Gaston returned to Vouvray he was brought to tears by the devastation of his vineyards. Essentially starting from scratch Gaston became a trailblazer in the region with organic and biodynamic farming. The winery eventually purchased three vineyards in Vouvray’s first slope, or Premiere Cote to ensure they were getting top quality fruit that make wines that are not only remarkably expressive, but astoundingly age worthy.  

 

In 2002 an aging Gaston was in need financial assistance and it was a New Yorker, Anthony Hwang and his family that stepped in providing this benchmark producer the comfort to continue on their road to making some of the best white wines on the planet.

 

All Vouvray is made from Chenin Blanc, which dates back in the region of Vouvray to the 9th century by the way, and the wines run the gambit from sparkling, to bone dry, to dessert hitting many delightful points in between. To really know and understand Chenin Blanc one must discover and explore Vouvray.  And Huet is a wonderful place to start.

 

2014 Domaine Huet Petillant Vouvray $31.99

100% organic Chenin Blanc grown in three different vineyards and from the younger vines. Bone dry, tremendously layered with complex baked stone fruit and packed with concentration. Long finish that is brimming with honey, citrus oil and a tiny bit of toast.  Perfect wine for brunch, picnics or sipping while nibbling on cheese and cured meat.

 

2019 Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Vouvray Sec $36.99

The aromatics on this wine are absolutely captivating. Each swirl of the glass awakens another brilliant layer. The Le Haut-Lieu is the original vineyard for Huet and the one with the most clay, giving the wines a little earlier generosity. On the palate there is a focused and pristine core of ripe pears, citrus rind, night blooming flowers and quince. There is something very elegant here, but it is equally alluring and playful. This is a dry white wine with some body to it so it’s perfect for baked, steaky white fish, river fish, simple chicken and even subtle pork dishes.

 

2019 Domaine Huet Le Mont Vouvray Demi-Sec $46.99

For us this was a wine that stopped us dead in our tracks and soulfully gobbled up all our attention. The nose is wildly seductive. Warmed spice pears, tangerine rind, river stones, peaches. Broad on the palate with a sexy, silken texture and more of that warm spice, peaches and lemon honey. Demi-Sec means half dry but this is on the drier end of that. Gobs of luscious fruit but still crisp and leaving the palate very fresh. I want this wine with sushi, anything rich with ginger, pungent or spicy dishes, aged soft cheeses, especially goat and salty cured meat. Decadent and a truly supple, noble white wine.    

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