At its weekly tasting, the staff of NY Vintners sniffed, tasted and discussed 3 white and 4 red wines looking for the few we could recommend enthusiastically. We found 1 white and 1 red that produced smiles of pleasure and approval. As always the wines were tasted blind so that no one could be influenced by information on the label. It is all about what in the bottle—not what is on the bottle.
The white wine that stood out—number 3– turned out to be a well known wine from a justly famous estate in the Loire Valley: Domaine Huet located in Vouvray. The wines from this lovely region are made from Chenin Blanc which is one of the most fascinating of all the world’s best varietals. Like Riesling, and to a lesser extent Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc lends itself to being made anywhere from bone dry to luxuriously rich and luscious. It depends on the weather in September and October and to some extent the decisions of the vignerons. The two best known and most highly regarded estates in Vouvray are Huet and Clos Naudin. Both have produced marvelous wines for many years. But in terms of consistency, longevity and sheer vinous brilliance, Huet most be accorded the number 1 position. The 90 acre Domaine was established in 1928 and by the late 1940s the wines were being sought out by connoisseurs. There are 3 separate vineyard sites at Huet each bringing out different aromas, flavors and texture from the flexible Chenin Blanc grape. The estate has been working Bio-dynamically since 2000 which has made the wines even more precise, elegant and healthy. The best dry wines (called Sec in French) are made from a vineyard named Le Mont (“The Hill”) whose soil is pebbly and consists mainly of green-coloured clay and silica.
The wines produced at this site are elegant yet intense. The 2006 offered to the palate an intriguing synthesis of chewy density and pristine, persistent citrus acidity. One of us thought it could be a 1er Cru Chablis to which the wine bore a decided resemblance. Yet the bouquet was pure Chenin—White pepper, tree bark, pear and lime and quince. Smoky and woodsy (but not oaky!) came to mind. All really fine wines have long finishes. And this beauty delivered the proverbial $100 finish. Above all it was the way the wine dug into one’s palate and lingered that made it stand out from the other 2 whites we tasted. This is a superb dry white which is interesting enough to be enjoyed on its own but will enhance just about any fish/shell fish preparation. You will want to buy 6 bottles or more. This is not a wine to be drunk but once!
2006 Huet Vouvray Sec Le Mont $37.00