Domaine Huet Haut Lieu Demi-Sec 2020
Taking its roots deep into the chalk soils of Vouvray, this off-dry wine resonates beautifully in the mouth. Its natural sugar and refreshing acidity blend harmoniously. Aerial and complex, this fruity wine is to be appreciated young, but can reveal itself graciously to the ones who wait.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Pear and pineapple aromas meet fine, floral characters in the 2020 Demi-Sec Le Haut-Lieu. While this wine's edges are rounded, it is refined and elegant. It has a sense of density on the mid-palate, but it's not about weight or richness despite its demi-sec status. The wine has an intensity and a structured core reflecting the naturally low yields here. While there is 20g/L of residual sugar, a sense of freshness and underlying urgency pulls this wine through, leaving an off-dry impression.
Barrel Sample: (95-97)
The 2020 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec is clear, pure, subtle, deep and fresh, with highly refined chalky/sandy lemon aromas. Rich and intense yet silky textured and refined on the concentrated palate, this is a juicy, highly elegant, perfectly balanced, persistently salty and mouth-salivating Haut-Lieu with very fine tannins and a long, firm and pretty powerful but elegant and complex finish. Still more stringent than the Le Mont Demi-Sec in the beginning, but after aeration, this is not just a greatly finessed Chenin but one of the finest Haut-Lieu's I have tasted from Huet.
Barrel Sample: (95-96)
Today, Domaine Huet may be making its most consistently great wines. As was one of the earliest adopters of biodynamic practices, and with years of experience working with the appellation's greatest terroirs, winemaker Jean-Bernard Berthome and his team are achieving a fascinating level of transparency, purity, and knife-edged balance in the wines.
An important white wine appellation in the Touraine and one of the top in all of the Loire, Vouvray uniquely specializes in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, and still to sparkling, each with its own definitive character. Vouvray is almost always 100% Chenin blanc (however up to 5% Menu Pineau is theoretically allowed but not often used).
Vouvray is also the name of a pretty little town just east of Tours on the northern bank of the Loire—its vineyards surround it to the northeast. Houses and cellars are carved out of the local tuffeau, a chalky or sandy, fine-grained limestone. Vineyards inhabit clay and gravel topsoil over tuffeau on the plateau, the best of which have a slight slope with a southerly aspect.
Chenin blanc’s high acidity and natural adaptability allow it to produce a wide range of styles with enormous success. Styles under the Vouvray name include sparkling, both Brut and Demi-Sec and still: Sec (dry) and Tendre (off-dry) as well as Demi-Sec (noticeably sweet), Moelleux (very sweet) and Liquoreaux (botrytized). Most can age about five years but the best quality versions will continue to improve over decades.
Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin Blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin Blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. Somm Secret—Landing in South Africa in the mid 1800s, today the country has double the acreage of Chenin Blanc planted compared to France. There is also a new wave of dedicated producers committed to restoring old Chenin vines.