fredag 17. februar 2012

Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec 2010, Huet

Vinmøte Are 16.2.12:

Fersken, fruktig, aprikos og rik i munnen. Litt tung parfyme hviler over vinen, lett tropisk, søt munn men en veldig bra syre står opp mot det hele. Lang ettersmak, den faller litt ned på den uelegante siden. Konsentrert og lang ettersmak. Bør nok lagres 8-10 år til. Jeg tror vi trekker den litt fordi vi ikke drikker så mye Vouvray. Det burde vi gjøre ! 89 poeng.

Fra bloggen "finare viner" :
Inte helt oväntat uppvisar 2010 Clos du Bourg Vouvray Sec fler likheter än olikheter jämfört med föregående, men de intensiva citrustonerna är onekligen lite fetare och dessutom får de sällskap av lätta stråk av persika och melon. Det är på andra dagen som inslaget av grapefrukt blir mest tydligt. Doften är lite kryddigare, mineraliteten lite "brunare" och förutom en aning av örter, tulo och honung kan vi addera en knivsudd vanilj från använda fat.

I munnen: ännu en rejäl kick. Smaken är lite rikare, lite rundare, lite fruktigare och lite bredare över axlarna. Syra och mineralitet är precis lika närvarande, men liksom en nyans mörkare, och mer inbäddad. Här finns också en viss grapefruktbeska som ger Clos du Bourg en mer kraftfull profil. I vår smak blir funktionen mindre av apéritif och mer av matsällskap.

Syftet med det här lilla testet var framförallt att ta reda på vilket av dem vi helst vill ha mer av. Båda vinerna närmar sig det perfekta när det gäller torr chenin blanc - Le Mont når möjligen hela vägen dit - men detta är ju egentligen doningar som bör lagras i åratal eller rentav decennier för att ge sitt bästa. Le Mont är i alla fall utan tvekan det vin som träffar allra mest rätt här hemma hos oss.


The news itself was inevitable, but the timing and immediacy of the news which broke yesterday certainly came as a surprise. Noël Pinguet, who has for years been the face of Domaine Huet, and who has long stated his intention to retire in 2015, is to part company with Domaine Huet and its main backer Anthony Hwang, with immediate effect. A source in Vouvray tells me that there is certainly acrimony behind the split, and that Anthony Hwang will be installing family members to take over the management of the domaine. “Pinguet is not leaving a happy man“, my source says.

Noël Pinguet and Domaine Huet part company

The news broke on the 24th with this article from Le Revue du Vin de France; the article suggests some differences of opinion as responsible for the unexpected split. First it is claimed that, contrary to Anthony Hwang’s wishes, Noël (pictured right) was against broadening the production of sec cuvées, presumably at the expense of reducing the amount of sweeter demi-sec and moelleux wines. I can understand this in principle; the sec cuvées are probably more of a commercial success, whereas the demi-sec and moelleux wines probably appeal to a much narrower band of consumers. Having said that, the balance of sec to demi-sec and moelleux cuvées depends very much on the vintage, and 2010 and it seems 2011 were both strong on dry rather than sweet wines. Second, there seems to be a disagreement on distribution policy, Noël’s more measured approach apparently conflicting with Anthony Hwang’s desire to fulfil the largest orders. If this is true I would not be surprised; Hwang’s stake in Huet is large and he comes in as an outside investor. Noël is the son-in-law of Gaston Huet, whose father Victor bought the domaine in 1928. I know his quality-orientated decisions have sometimes caused friction between the two; his desire to use older vintages of very precious première trie moelleux wines as dosage for his superb pétillant wines was not a popular decision with Anthony Hwang. I note the 2007 has been dosed with a less precious blend of demi-sec from two vintages; is this significant in view of Noël’s departure?
Although the split seems to be tainted with acrimony there are suggestions that it may be merely overzealous reporting by La RVF. Jim Budd reports here on news from Huet’s American importer who play down the departure, putting a positive spin on how this development will (a) not affect quality at the estate and (b) more sec wines will mean lower volumes but better quality sweeter wines. Most of these words sound like standard fair from a merchant with a vested interest in marketing and selling the wines of the domaine though, so I’m inclined to reject these points. And as I indicate above, a source in Vouvray tells me otherwise.
As I mention above, Noël has been very open about his retirement in 2015, when he will be 70 years old. With his replacement Benjamin Joliveau having three years under his belt now, and régisseur Jean-Bernard Berthomé staying on, it is understandable that some might think maybe be felt it was safe to go a little earlier than planned. But, as charming as this idea might seem, there seems no doubt that this departure represents more than mere early retirement. Noël has invested much of his life in Huet, working alongside his father-in-law Gaston, a partnership that was reputedly not always as warm as it might have been, converting the domaine to biodynamics in 1990, pushing quality higher and higher. And of course he holds a minority stake in the company. And in recent months when I have met him – in November 2011 and February 2012 – he seemed as interested and enthusiastic for his wines as ever. There was nothing of the man who longed for retirement about him. Discord and acrimony between Hwang and Pinguet have, it seems, resulted in Vouvray’s leading domaine parting company with its most talented winemaker. I wish Noël well for the future.

Om vinmarken Clos du Bourg:

Next to join the Huet portfolio was the Clos du Bourg, and for many modern fans of Huet this is their favourite from amongst the three lieux-dits. The vineyard in question lies to the west of the main Huet cellars. A true clos, surrounded by a high stone wall (even if it is a little tumbledown in places), the vineyard sits on the first slope above the eastern part of the town, including the church, the spire of which is visible beyond the expanse of vines within.
There is considerable history here, records indicating the existence of the Clos du Bourg as long ago as the 7th century when it was owned by the collegiate church of St Martin de Tours. A 6-hectare lieu-dit previously owned by Charles Vavasseur, also a onetime mayor of Vouvray, Gaston Huet acquired the vineyard in 1953. The bedrock is the same tuffeau that extends eastwards towards Le Haut Lieu and Le Mont, although the topsoil here is much shallower, up to a metre deep at most. Perhaps it is this need for the roots of the vines to penetrate the solid limestone below that imbues the cuvées from the Clos du Bourg with a greater sense of power than those from le Haut Lieu ?


Om sec;

Any tasting of the still wines naturally begins with the sec cuvées, wines which could once be relied upon to possess in the region of 3 to 5 g/l of residual sugar. In recent years, however, it is notable that the residual has been creeping up, and most recent vintages have between 10 and 15 g/l. This is not so much sec as sec-tendre; not overtly sweet, the sugar is usually balanced out by the fine acidity, but the wines are certainly richer and more fleshy than they once were; it is a development that has not been to everybody's taste. I must confess, however, that I still find the wines very appealing, and they cellar very well indeed. At 10 to 15 years these wines are still babies, drinking beautifully, and for some this is when the drinking window truly starts. Personally I find they drink well from the very beginning, and have enjoyed Huet's sec Vouvrays at all ages, sometimes after a year or two in bottle, sometimes many more.

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