This is a “unicorn wine”, if there ever was one. Product of the outstanding 2009 vintage, Le Haut Lieu “Franc de Pied” Sec is a unique bottling of Chenin Blanc grapes grown from ungrafted rootstock. In 1985, Domaine Huet planted a small experimental parcel of own-rooted Chenin Blanc in their Haut Lieu vineyard. Taken from cuttings of vines from the Le Mont vineyard, 90% of the original “Franc de Pied” vines planted in 1985 still exist today and produce berries. The use of biodynamic farming has helped to slow the effects of phylloxera on their vinifera rootstock.
The wines made from these un-grafted vines show a unique expression of Chenin Blanc, such that Franc de Pied is only produced in exceptional vintages. Its profile leans towards exotic fruits, a slightly finer balance between sugar and alcohol, and low levels of sweetness. There is a notable increased sense of overall complexity, a marked statement considering the consistent elegance and finesse of Huet’s wines year after year. Because yields are lower in these vines, the resulting fruit is extremely pure. The nose is clean, fresh and chalky, mixed with florals and green citrus. The palate is full, woven with ripe fruit and mineral notes. The wine is powerful yet elegant and fine, tense and nervy.