Domaine Huet’s nine hectare Le Haut Lieu vineyard, characterized by deep clay-rich soil, is known for its supple wines. (An understatement, frankly: this is one of the best vineyards in the Vouvray appellation.) Like all of Huet’s vineyards, it is planted entirely to Chenin Blanc and has been managed according to biodynamic principles for over 25 years.
When harvesting by hand in October and November, pickers make two or three passages (“tries“) through the vineyard. On each pass, careful hands select fruit that meets specific criteria: ripeness, say, or botrytization. Fruit selection is key to the finished wines.
Revealing the soul of a single varietal rooted in the area’s chalk soil (tuffeau), this demi-sec resonates on the palate with the natural sugar and acidity of Chenin. Lengthy and complex, it is vibrant when young but will gradually reveal its true complexity for those with the patience to cellar.
“The 2015 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec has a creamy, intense and elegant bouquet of ripe and concentrated fruits, along with delicate earthy and lemony flavors. Full-bodied, intense and powerful, with a dense texture and firm tannins, this is a very complex and firmly structured Chenin for the next decade. The sweetness is perfectly integrated and the acidity rather mild in the first moment. The finish though is enormously vital and mineral. With the 2015 vintage, Domaine Huet offers (almost) the whole range of Vouvrays again: Secs, Demi-secs, Moelleux and the noble sweet 1ère Tries. However, there was no Clos de Bourg Sec and no Moelleux produced in 2015, just a Demi-Sec; the other crus were selected in all styles and this has not been the case for years now. More than this, 2015 is an exceptional and historic vintage again at Huet (perhaps the best since 1997). I can only recommend to buy cases of all styles. You might know or have learned from my last Huet report (see Interim November 2015), that even the dry and medium-dry wines can age for decades. You just have to find your favorite Huet terroir before you can explore its talents in style and ageability. The 2015s combine super ripe, tropical fruit flavors and juicy textures with concentration, perfectly integrated acidities and enormous precision that reflects the different terroirs, even in the noble sweet Première Tries that ranges between 89 (Le Haut-Lieu) and 117 (Le Mont) grams per liter of residual sugar.”
94+ points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2016
“Features a wide range of apple, green melon, ginger and green plum notes gliding throughout, with the off-dry edge imparting a flattering feel. Latent minerality lengthens the finish. Best from 2017 through 2030. 300 cases imported. “
94 points, Wine Spectator, Sept 2016