Summer of Chenin: Huet “Brut” Pétillant

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From Rare Wine: ‘Since its founding in 1928, Vouvray’s Domaine Huet has been the standard-bearer for great, age worthy Chenin Blanc. And to this day, year after year, the estate produces some of the world’s most compelling white wines—and in a remarkable range that spans sparkling, dry, semi-dry, and breathtaking dessert styles.

Chenin Blanc has been identified with Vouvray since at least the 9th century, and many of its great vineyards were known by the 14th century. By those standards, the 80-year-old Huet estate is relatively young. Yet it was this youngster that established, once and for all, that Vouvray can produce profoundly great wines.

The Domaine’s founder, Victor Huet, was a Parisian bistro owner. However, with lungs and nerves shattered by his experiences in WWI, Victor re-settled to the town of Vouvray in France’s beautiful Loire Valley. He soon purchased the first of his great vineyards, Le Haut-Lieu, in 1928, and Domaine Huet was born.’

Please read more about this iconic producer’s history here.

‘It is widely believed that the estate is today making the most consistently great wines in its history. Pinguet was one of the earliest adopters of biodynamic practices, and the domaine’s recent wines achieve a fascinating level of transparency, purity, and knife-edged balance.

Each of Huet’s three iconic vineyards imparts a different signature to its wine. Le Haut Lieu’s deep limestone-clay soil produces wines that typically blossom early. Le Mont has less clay and more stone, yielding young wines of intense minerality. With age, Le Mont cuvees develop great length and finesse. And due to its extremely shallow, stony soils, Clos du Bourg often synthesizes Le Mont’s intense minerality with Le Haut-Lieu’s generous texture.

In any given vintage, the estate can produce up to four different cuvées from each site: Sec, Demi-Sec, Moelleux, or Moelleux 1ère Trie (“first selection”).’

A fresh pétillant is produced using grapes from all three famous vineyards, as well as from other small parcels on the estate. Pétillant is the traditional sparkling style in the Loire Valley, with about half the pressure of normal sparkling wine. The mousse (the bubbles that collect on the surface) is thus finer and gentler, making it both delicate and digestible on the palate. From this cooler vintage, you can expect this bone-dry sparkling wine to also have incredible fresh acidity. A wonderful aperitif.