A Quick Look at Loire Valley Wines
By Kerry Winslow
2005 Domaine Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec “Clos du Bourg” Loire Valley, White.
This earthy and sweet Vouvray has vigor and life, though the veggie nose is a slight off putting, but the wine recovers on the palate with depth and a long finish. There is pear, quince, wet stones and peachy fruit. Hints of truffle, ginger and figs add to the whole on this demi-sec that still might need a few years to show its best. I’m hoping the nose develops more and that the acid continues to ease. It might just be a certain vintage thing regarding the nose, because I have not found the slightly unpleasant aromatics in other vintages of this wine, in fact I loved the 2007 and the current 2009 versions of the “Clos du Bourg” Demi-Sec, even though it should change given time. Since I don’t have huge experience with Huet, I have relied on a few collectors that echo my own thoughts on this one, but I will admit I’m not a 100% sure on this one and hope to revisit it in a few years to see what happens. I just might be being to fussy and I will say most people that tried it during a recent tasting didn’t catch the veggie nose as much and seemed to really enjoy this wine very much. So, I guess it is a personal taste, I might pass on this wine for myself, but I am glad to have had a chance to sample it, no question.
($44.95 Est.) 89 Points, grapelive
2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec “Le Haut Lieu” Loire Valley, White.
This Vouvray is vibrant and fresh with citrus, bright and bouncy, melon, green apple and a core of tangy peach. Hints of chalk, lime and mineral really bring this pretty wine together, along with the racy acidity that keeps it all focused. This wine is very light and refreshing, though it should gain with another year on the bottle. Still, it is a very clean and nice Vouvray to drink now. Domaine Huet makes some of the finest Chenin Blancs in the world that can age beautifully, though this one can be enjoyed right now, so be sure to give Vouvray a try if you haven’t done so, as it is often overlooked and truly can be a remarkable wine when done right. Huet makes terroir driven wines of impressive character, showing the grape in its best light. Sadly, for me, I’ve only be able to try Huet Chenins in the last year, and now I know I’ve been missing out for many years!
($29.95 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec “Clos du Bourg” Loire Valley, White.
This is near perfect Vouvray, young and fresh, but with wonderful richness starting to develop all ready. This wine has got nose, live and depth to spare with lovely flavors throughout. The nose is floral and mineral too, with orange blossom, lime and jasmine, while a cool mineral note gives a steely edge. There is a full array of white peach, apple, lemon/lime and pear fruit layers with tangy acidity that hides the depth and body still. If you want the soul or essence of Vouvray, than this is a wine to find, drink of few now and hold a few for a few more years, I’m sure you’ll be very impressed.
($34.95 Est.) 94+ Points, grapelive
2007 Domaine Joguet Chinon “Clos du Chene Vert” Loire Valley, Red.
This wound up red has old world earthy funk and animal tones, but still hints at a pretty future with a background of violets and cassis. The first impression is important, though it doesn’t always tell the whole story, and I almost skipped the later chapters as I’m not a huge fan of the stinky funk that dominates the nose and palate. That said, not unlike older Beaucastel Chateauneufs, the funk does go away leaving a pretty and rewarding wine. Barnyard notes, mushrooms, green bell peppers lead, followed by dried flowers, violets, cassis, black cherry and mineral notes. Give lots more time.
($42.95 Est.) 87-89 Points, grapelive
2007 Domaine Joguet Chinon “Clos de la Dioterie” Loire Valley, Red.
This is almost a reverse on the “Clos du Chene Vert” and is much more elegant, fruit driven and beautiful is style, more the Cinderella to the step sister. While remaining true to its terroir with earth and bell pepper, it is far more eye catching, or palate catching I should say, with heady perfume of wild flowers, lilac and violet come to mind with currant and liqueur notes. The mouth feels full, but there is vibrant and tangy acidity too, making for an exciting and balanced Cabernet Franc. Look for many more years of pleasure with this beauty. Raspberry, cherry mint, truffle, graphite and cedar all play a part in this Chinon.
($44.95 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive
2009 Domaine Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec “Le Haut Lieu” Loire Valley, White.
This lightly sweet Vouvray is drinking great now with lots of sexy peach, lemon/lime and chalky pear fruit that feels alive and fresh, not heavy or overdone. The “Le Haut Lieu” has a rocky mineral streak that tastes like crushed seashells in the background like a fine Chablis, but never drifts far from pure Chenin Blanc character with peach and light citrus. I got to believe this wine has about 5-10 years of glorious drinking ahead, though many purists might want to give it much more cellar time! I have heard more than a few stories about the glories of the 1947 Huet Demi! I have had a 1990 Vouvray Demi and marveled at the depth and joy of it, so who knows, it might be fun to hide a few bottles away.
($37.95 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive
These wines are available at San Francisco Wine Trading Company- www.sfwtc.com