• 2010 Vouvray Dreamscape: Huet's Horizontal

    2010 Vouvray Dreamscape: Huet's Horizontal

    If there was to be only one gold standard for Chenin Blanc it would be Huet. Loire Valley's village of Vouvray has been home to the domaine since its first of three famous vineyards, Le Haut-Lieu, was purchased in 1928. Today's offer features an incredibly rare horizontal of the dry, or "Sec" cuvées, from the most prized vintage of the decade, 2010. 

    Huet's brilliance is their work running the entire range from dry sparkling (the Pétillant featured below) all the way through the very sweetest (Cuvée Constance, also featured below). As an appellation, Vouvray traces production back to the 9th century, but it wasn't until Victor Huët relocated here from Paris that he began the domaine. Victor's son Gaston took over in 1937, and after spending five years in a German POW camp he returned home and purchased the next duo of vineyards, Le Mont and Clos du Bourg. Today, this Grand Cru level trio of bottlings are revered for their expressive site specificity, as well as their transformative prowess. 

    Le Haut-Lieu's deep limestone and clay make this the richest, most plush, and approachable of the range.

    Le Mont has far less clay, and the wines are the most mineral-driven and racy of the trio.

    Clos du Bourg has the most shallow and rockiest soils, but its signature is actually a middle ground: The mineral component of Le Mont with the more sensual, flashy texture of Le Haut-Lieu.

    Upon release, the young 2016 Huet Sec wines offer upfront notes of white peach, pineapple, and chalky minerality. But, with now six vintages in bottle, the 2010 captures what all the excitement for this estate is about. White flowers and honeycomb notes have emerged, and the integration of all pieces have fallen beautifully into place. The 2010 vintage is most heralded for its balance between bright, mouth-watering acidities and luscious ripeness, a combo we see all too infrequently.

    2010 Huet Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec
    $69 per bottle.

    2010 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Sec
    $69 per bottle.

    2010 Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec
    $69 per bottle.

    Also Available:

    12x 2013 Huet Vouvray Brut Pétillant
    $35 per bottle.

    1x 2010 Huet Vouvray Brut Pétillant 
    $49 per bottle.

    1x 2008 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec
    $69 per bottle.

    7x 2007 Huet Le Mont Vouvray Demi-Sec
    $69 per bottle.

    2x 2002 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec
    $76 per bottle.

    2x 2002 Huet Vouvray Cuvée Constance 500ml
    $182 per bottle.

    1x 2002 Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec
    $79 per bottle.

    2x 2000 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec
    $77 per bottle.

    2x 1999 Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec
    $79 per bottle.

    1x 1997 Huet Vouvray Cuvée Constance 500ml
    $227 per bottle.

    2x 1995 Huet Vouvray Clos Du Bourg Demi-Sec
    $109 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod
  • Dry Vouvray Masterclass:  2014 Jacky Blot Monopole Bretonniere

    Dry Vouvray Masterclass: 2014 Jacky Blot Monopole Bretonniere

    The case is made by many that Loire Valley Chenin Blanc is the benchmark for diversity within the world of wine. And I'm not one to argue with that sentiment. Bone-dry, sparkling, off-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet. The entire range is covered here in the central Loire. However, this perspective has become a bit of a double-edged sword for Chenin. If everything can be done well, is anything actually exceptional? I won't make the case, as some do, that top sparkling examples rival great champagne. But, I will gladly tell you that the zenith of bone-dry Chenin Blanc is deadly serious.

    Clos Rougeard's Brézé is the most famous name in this club, with current releases starting at $200 per bottle. But, beyond that there's one name that embodies the detail and clarity that top dry Chenin is capable of. Jacky Blot's domaine, La Taille Aux Loups, works primarily with vineyards in Montlouis, but in Vouvray there's one parcel of old vines that produce his most coveted wine. Precision is the first word that comes to mind when I taste his monopole, Clos de la Bretonniere. At $34 per bottle, this is the greatest bone-dry Chenin Blanc that still lies under-the-radar.

    Blot takes his cue's from Burgundy gods, Coche-Dury and Roulot. After a slow barrel fermentation (20% new wood here) he moves his wine into steel for several months prior to bottling. Much like the disciplined Chenin found in Saumur, here battonage is avoided and malolactic fermentation is blocked - a necessity in accentuating the laser-focus and sleek frame that draws comparisons to Burgundy.

    Blot is no nonsense when it comes to farming, with organic and hands-on viticulture serving as the root of success for all his wines. However, Clos de la Bretonniere stands out in his lineup. While his Montlouis wines can show density and breadth, this rare Vouvray parcel of 60-yr-old vines on pure limestone is a different beast. There's a mesmerizing level of detail and shimmering range of flavors that seemingly dance on the palate. It's a drinking sensation that you do not want to end.

    Vouvray is most associated with off-dry and sweet styles of wine. Since 1993 Jacky has focused on bone-dry wines, a choice that was not received warmly for the first two vintages in the Loire. But, after some time, people began to see what he was after. Today, the Clos de la Bretonniere is one of the greatest examples of dry Chenin Blanc in the world. But, like the Loire in 1993, people are still just catching on. 2014 was magic for the entire region, but even in this context the dry wines from the vintage have a unmistakable completeness to them. 

    It's not often you can tell drinkers of Coche and Roulot to pick up a bottle of dry Chenin and expect to be be floored. At $34 per bottle, today is definitely that day.

    2014 Jacky Blot (La Taille Aux Loups) VDF Bretonniere (Monopole)
    $34 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod