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The wines of Huet L’Echansonne, Vouvray, France  

11/13 Rue de la Croix Buisée, BP 34, 37210 Vouvray, France

Note added later: See a more recent review of this Domaine's wines, including a vertical back to the 1940s, HERE

One of the most visible of biodynamic domaines, Huet has been leading the way in Vouvray for many decades. Established in 1928 by Victor and Gaston Huet, this 35 hectare domaine has been managed for the last three decades by Noël Pinguet (pictured above), son in law of Gaston.

Biodynamics has been practised here since 1990. As with other Vouvray producers this is a one grape outfit – Chenin Blanc takes pride of place here – but it is made in a range of styles depending on both vintage conditions and vineyard site. Vines are pruned short with one or two spurs on each branch, and up to three buds per spur.

The three main Huet vineyards are close together but have different soil types:

  • Le Clos du Bourg is located above the church of Vouvray on the best slopes. It’s a walled vineyard of 6 hectares, and has a shallow soil over limestone. It makes powerful wines with good structure.

  • Le Haut-Lieu is 9 hectares of deep soil, with predominantly brown clay and is known for its supple wines.

  • Le Mont is 8 hectares of the best slopes along the Loire, with stony soils composed of mainly green clay and silica. Elegant, feminine wines are the result.

Grapes are picked manually in two or three ‘tries’ (passages through the vineyard) in October and early November. Bunches are pressed intact, and gently; fermentation is in a mix of large and small oak barrels, and larger stainless steel tanks. Natural yeasts are used, along with those which are present in the winery; no cultured yeasts are introduced. Fermentation is ended (almost all the wines have some residual sugar; many have a lot) by racking the wine and adding sulfur dioxide, which is the only chemical that is added. A light filtration is practised before bottling.

The climatic conditions vary quite a bit in the Loire, and Chenin responds by producing a range of different sugar levels. Thus the wines produced in Vouvray vary in sweetness according to vintage. Huet have prepared a table illustrating this variation quite nicely.

Climatic conditions


Sugar content of musts (grams per litre)

Types of wines produced


72, 84, 87, 94


Dry and sparkling only


92, 93, 98, 99, 00


1ère trie semi dry; 2eme trie, dry and sparkling


85, 86, 88, 95, 96, 01


1ère trie, sweet and semi-dry; 2eme trie dry and sparkling


47, 59, 89, 90, 97, 02, 03


1ère trie, liquoreux and sweet; 2eme trie semi-dry and dry

2004 was not a great year in terms of sugar levels, and only dry wines will be made. In contrast, in 2003 only sweet wines were made.

Huet Cuvée Huet Brut 2000 Vouvray (sparkling)
Fresh Chenin nose leads to a high acid palate which is very savoury with more of that lovely Chenin character. (In case you are wondering what ‘Chenin character’ is, I’d define this as sort of straw-like, slightly cheesy, savoury, wet wool!) Very good+ 89/100

Huet Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2004 Vouvray
Tank sample, bottled this week. Fresh, crisp Chenin nose which is quite light. The palate shows lovely concentration and balance with assertive acidity. Will be lovely. Very good/excellent 91/100

Huet Le Clos du Bourg Sec 2004 Vouvray
Tank sample. Nice herby Chenin character on the nose. Vivid palate with good acid and lots of freshness. Hard to assess now. Very good/excellent 90/100

Huet Le Haut-Lieu Demi Sec 2003 Vouvray
Really nice weight here. Medium sweet with clean, pure, subtly herby, slightly cheesy Chenin notes. A fresh wines that needs time. 29 g/litre residual sugar. Very good/excellent 90/100

Huet Le Clos du Bourg Moelleux 2003 Vouvray
A simply brilliant wine. Distinctive, herby, straw-like nose with some honey-like notes. The palate is rich, complex and full. Quite lovely. Lots of Chenin character; very sweet and rich textured. 66 g/litre residual sugar. Very good/excellent 93/100

Huet Le Mont Moelleux 1ère Trie 2003 Vouvray
Broody herb and straw nose. The palate shows a huge concentration of complex fruit. It’s rich textured with lovely Chenin complexity and good acidity. Seamless and rich. A brilliant effort. Very good/excellent 94/100

see also: tasting notes of Loire wines

wines tasted April 2005

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