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.) Of the winery’s three vineyards, wines from Le Haut-Lieu are generally most approachable young. 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. This is the driest style of Vouvray: full, racy, and pure.
“The deep brown clay soils of the Haut-Lieu plateau provide the typical fruitiness and freshness wonderfully in Huet’s 2019 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Sec. Ripe pear, tangerine and orange fruits with notes of lemon grass and green pimientos intertwined with very fine chalky and later tobacco notes give a remarkably fine, elegant and harmonious, subtly complex and simply gorgeous bouquet with floral (lime blossom!) and yeasty aromas that are immediately attractive. Delicate and linear on the palate, this is a pure, fresh, bone-dry, lean and textured, highly refined and perfectly interwoven Chenin with persistent purity, finesse, salty-mineral tension and very fine tannins. Highly finessed and so pure and vivacious! This is a chalky picture-book Haut-Lieu that can age for many years, even though it is already dangerously seductive! There was no dry Le Haut-Lieu produced in 2018, but the 2019 is possibly the finest, most delicate and elegant I’ve had in recent years, at least at this early stage. A terrific and buoyant Vouvray that any Chenin lover should try—or, better yet, cellar! Although only four wines were produced in 2019 (Le Mont is the only wine that was also produced as demi-sec, while the other two were only produced as sec) these are the finest, purest, most delicate yet also intense Vouvrays I have had from Huet in recent years. Namely, the high-toned, illuminating 2019 Le Haut-Lieu is fascinating in its purity and finesse as well as its filigreed, seriously long and salty character.”
95 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, July 2020
“The 2019 Sec Le Haut-Lieu is classy, polished and simply impeccable. Soft, silky contours wrap around a core of peach and lemon confit fruit. The first impression is all about texture. White flowers, pear and white pepper are some of the nuances that emerge over time, adding complexity, while clean, minerally notes grace the exquisite finish.”
92 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com, Sept 2020