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Nectar marred by vintage: 2011 Domaine Huet “Le Mont” Vouvray Demi-Sec

2011 Domaine Huet "Le Mont" Vouvray Demi-Sec[Tasted during WSET Diploma – Unit 3 – Week 2: Loire Valley]

Beautiful golden colour upon pour. There was no doubt that this was Vouvray even before smelling it, since this was the 7th out of 8 wines we tried this day and we still haven’t bumped into a Chenin Blanc that had any residual sugar. I’m a big fan of (quality) sweeter Vouvray, where luscious sweet honeyed quince notes are balanced by high acidity. It’s another one of those wines you want to open for people who swear that sweet wines are the equivalent to Satan, or something.

Vouvray, if I’m correct, is the appellation in the Loire which plants the most Chenin Blanc, and the region produces the wine in all styles depending on the vintage – so sparkling, still, and sweet versions are all made. An easy goto for the “if you could drink only one wine for the rest of your life what would it be?” question.

Huet is one of the superlative producers of Vouvray – I’ve had one or two Huet wines in the past and I’ve enjoyed them. Had this not been a horrible vintage, the quality would be higher. Unfortunately, the nose and palate were muted and marred by a bit of bitterness, perhaps from some rot. The class agreed, and most placed this in the good category while some thought this was full-on very good quality. That being said, structurally it was fantastic, and the medium-dry wine was balanced out beautifully by high acid. I just wish there could’ve been more fruit and intensity – I wonder whether or not this would develop positively after a couple of years.

Tasting Note:

Eyes: clear, med gold, legs
Nose: clean, med intensity, developing, ripe green fruit, ripe green apple, stone fruit, mineral, pear, wet wool, closed
Mouth: medium-dry, med+ body, high acid, med alcohol, med flavour intensity, ripe apple, quince, minerality, wet wool, med+ length
All in all: Good quality: the quality of the vintage shows, here, with muted flavours being followed by a hint of bitterness on the finish. That being said, the finish is relatively long with a sufficiently balanced structure. Can drink now, but has potential for ageing.
Identity Guess:
Mid-priced Vouvray from Loire Valley, France; 5 years old.
Is really:
Premium Vouvray from Loire Valley, France; 3 years old.

Producer: Domaine Huet
Designation: 
“Le Mont”; Demi-Sec
Region: 
France
Sub-Region: 
Vouvray AOC, Loire Valley
Variety:
 Chenin Blanc
ABV:
 13.5%
Vintage:
 2011
Tasted:
 October 20, 2014
Price:
 $41

 

Josh

DipWSET, Certified Sommelier, garbage person.

  • Shea

    It’s called poor storage. Properly stored this is great wine. Knowing this has been on the shelf for over 2 years in BC does not assist. There are no rotten grapes in this wine, that’s silly given Huet’s picking practices.

    October 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm
      • Shea

        I am unclear what you mean by deus ex reasoning. My claim is deductive. I have had this wine right after release and it did not have the flaws you describe. It has been on the store shelf for a long time at a store that is known to have poor long term storage. 2011 was Pinguet’s last vintage and he was a top wine maker with, for the most part, impeccable farming and vinification (except perhaps for the sparkling cuvee, which is more uneven).

        For further reference see Chris Kissack’s (Wine Dr.) review from feb 2012: “(Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Demi-Sec) Residual sugar 23 g/l, acidity 5.1 g/l, alcohol 13.7%. Even in its youth this wine has a lovely combination of lightly golden Vouvray fruit with a minerally frame on the nose. Elegant and pure, this has a beautiful character on the palate, which is gentle and harmonious. This is a very honest, complete style of wine. Hugely impressive in the middle, broadening out here to reveal flower petals, spring meadows, minerals, star fruit and pear skin. It is surely true that demi-sec is the greatest expression of Vouvray. Delicious.”

        If you learn more, let me know.

        November 11, 2014 at 9:07 pm
          • Shea

            Thanks – this is helpful. I did not realize your only complaint was bitterness. I agree that is not caused by poor storage, though as I’m sure you know what can happen is muted aromatics and awkwardness from temp fluctuations, which is what I suspected was causing your issues with the wine, and maybe it did. I don’t agree that wine is resilient to poor storage. Some wine can be, sometimes. However, poor storage dramatically increases the risk a wine will be bad and increases inconsistency between bottles. Just because one wine that was stored in BC was good does not mean that poor storage is ok or that wine is resilient. I suggest a broader comparison of wines that are properly shipped and stores vs. those that are not. There is a reason reputable importers ship in refers. Hopefully you learn the joys of Chenin! Cheers!

            November 16, 2014 at 4:20 pm
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