As we looked at our printed personalized wine tasting list, it appeared that the Wine Raconteur, Jr. and I had come to the end of our visit; and everyone knows that all good things eventually come to an end. It was quite eventful and I know that both of us really enjoyed the tasting, because time really went quickly. We were approaching our twelfth wine for tasting and after all of these fine red wines, we were going to have a dessert wine to finish the day.
Domaine Huet L’Echansonne or just Domaine Huet is the leading producer in the Vouvray region of the Loire Valley. They are known for their assorted Chenin Blanc wines, both for their richness and concentration of flavor, but also for their ability to age for a long time. The thirty-five-hectare estate has three main south-facing vineyards on a plateau above the river and smaller plots as well. Le Haut-Lieu is around the original house and is on a heavy clay and limestone soil, which produce the most approachable of their wines. Clos du Bourg is on shallow clay and limestone soils which produce their longest-lived and most structured wines. Le Mont is on pebbly clay and silica and always is the last vineyard to be harvested. Grapes are harvested manually and usually three passes which may end up in November to take advantage of the levels of sweetness. The Vouvray appellation was awarded in 1936 and includes all versions of wines produced there from sweet, dry, still and sparkling. The majority of the wines now from Vouvray are sparkling. I have had the good fortune to have had and written about Domaine Huet Clos du Bourg Moelleux Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2016. Vouvray Moelleux are sweet wines made from Chenin Blanc, and similar to the wines of Sauternes, the fruit is harvested three times to get the richest and sweetest grapes. I have also done the same for the Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2017.
Domaine Huet Cuvée Constance Vouvray 2016 is a tribute to Madame Constance Huet and only uses the late and concentrated grapes from the three main vineyards. This wine is only produced in small quantity and only in years when the high standards for this wine are met. “Constance” was the result of an accident. In 1989, during the final harvesting of the berries, the grape juice was so exceptional, that the fermentation lasted for months. After consultations, it was decided to blend only these long-fermented juices together and Cuvée Constance was born. Grapes are pressed and fermentation using only natural yeasts with half in demi-muids (600-liter capacity oak barrels typically used in the Rhone Valley) and half in traditional vats for six months and a production of five-hundred cases. My first thoughts were that this pinkish-gold wine was honey, but then it revealed ripe pears and sweet spices with a delicious and long finish, and yes, I nursed this tasting for all it was worth.