Considered one of the most sacred of all Loire estates, Domaine Huet is poised to deliver their most memorable off-dry vintages in decades. Their 2018 release of off-dry and sweet wines are being compared by many to the legendary 1947 and 1959 vintages – and the excitement could not be higher.
Huet wines are some of France's – perhaps the world's – longest-lasting whites, with bottles from the 1940’s still drinking beautifully now. Even the oldest Loire growers can’t remember a vintage like 2018. Summer was hot (temperatures reached record highs) but, more importantly, the growing season had no major setbacks. This means no frost, no hail and very little disease/pest pressure during harvest. This is particularly important for growers like Huet and their off-dry/sweet wines. By leaving their crop out longer (to accumulate more sugar), growers run a far larger risk with their fruit than those who harvest early.
For Huet, a historic early adopter to organic viticulture, the risk is even greater. Ripening grapes free of synthetic pesticides can be sitting ducks for every pest and disease imaginable and every passing day is another gamble with mother nature to stay at bay. Even after harvest, sweet must loaded with high amounts of sugar (and a higher pH) can invite a mind-boggling array of micro-organisms and bacteria to spoil the juice. It takes a lucky accumulation of perfect moves in the vineyard and in the cellar for something extraordinary like this to happen. Thankfully in 2018 it did. Dense, ripe–and most importantly, healthy fruit yielded legendary sweet/off-dry wines from this very special estate.
2018 Demi-Sec “Le Haut-Lieu”
2018 Moelleux “Le Haut-Lieu”
2018 Moelleux 1ere Trie “Le Haut-Lieu”
From Loire Expert Richard Kelley’s Vineyard Profile: “The Le Haut Lieu itself consists of 3 to 4 metres of heavy clay soil mixed with chalk, known locally as aubuis, which lies over a bed of limestone. It is the limestone subsoil that proves to be the constant link between the three vineyards owned by Huet, and it is the vines proximity to the porous, yellow tuffeau that is responsible for the overriding style of wines produced from each of the sites. … Of the three sites, Le Haut Lieu tends to offer the most precocious of wines, regardless of their style or sweetness, although this should be seen a relative statement, given that they are still capable of lasting many decades.”
2018 Demi-Sec “Le Mont”
2018 Moelleux “Le Mont”
2018 Moelleux 1ere Trie “Le Mont”
From Loire Expert Richard Kelley’s Vineyard Profile: “This eight hectare vineyard is situated below Le Haut Lieu, and abuts the vineyards of Philippe Foreau. It is positioned on the first coteaux, around two kilometres further to the east, although top soil here is more profound and the vines need to delve deeper to access the honeycomb coloured tuffeau. Le Mont is usually the last vineyard to be picked, regardless of the style of wine produced; its retarded ripening is reflected in the maturation of the wines as they are usually the last to open up, but are generally very long lived.”
2018 Sec “Clos du Bourg”
2018 Moelleux “Clos du Bourg”
2018 Moelleux 1ere Trie “Clos du Bourg”
Our note: This vineyard is a harmonious marriage of its two siblings. Intermixed with marls, chalk, clay and tuffeau, Clos du Bourg produces the most harmonious of the 3 wines, combining the best of Le Haut-Lieu’s opulence and Le Mont’s steely focus.