Monday, June 16, 2008

Vouvray Pétillant Brut, Domaine Huet 2002

I could just post a picture, point you to Brooklynguy’s recent write-up of Huet’s Vouvray Pétillant and leave it at that. But that wouldn’t be very bloggerly of me now, would it?

I received this bottle as a gift from a friend several months ago and it’s been biding its time in my wine fridge, waiting for the right occasion, ever since. Saturday night turned out to be one of those evenings where, with not much else in the works, opening the bottle was the occasion in and of itself.

That Huet’s Vouvray Pétillant Brut is produced from the estate’s youngest vines (only three to ten years old) does not come as a surprise in the broad context of a sparkling wine’s place in a Vouvray grower’s overall portfolio. It does come as a surprise, however, in the context of tasting the wine. This is much more than simple sparkling Vouvray. The wine has both finesse and concentration in spades. As Peter Liem points out, it’s an absolutely top-notch alternative to Champagne. And I’ll second Brooklynguy’s opinion that it gets the better of many entry-level Champagnes when it comes to complexity, balance and even its expression of autolytic flavors, which are no doubt helped along by four years of sur lie aging. What I loved about the wine is how it does all of that while still maintaining a clear expression of its place, of its very Vouvray-ness.

The wine’s mousse is sparse, to be expected of the lower pressure of the Pétillant style, yet I found its bead to be finer than in most Vouvray Pétillant. Poured in a white wine glass, the bubbles dissipate and the wine quickly becomes still to the eye. Aromas are of blanched nuts, lightly baked apples, cinnamon, mace and brioche. Behind that come some of the hallmarks of Vouvray: a telltale note of beeswax followed by the springtime scent of yellow daffodils and ripe pear fruit. A honeyed note emerges on the palate, yet the flavor and structure are completely dry. Limestone and clay minerality are submerged in the lingering finish, all wrapped up in a blanket of toasty goodness. There’s nerve enough to make this a fantastic food wine – I enjoyed it in particular with a simple dish of scrambled eggs and sautéed asparagus – yet it’s ample and forward enough to function as an aperitif. In other words, I’d be more than happy to drink it just about anytime. $34. 12% alcohol. Natural cork. Importer: Robert Chadderdon Selections, New York, NY.


Brooklynguy said...

hey McD - excellent tasting notes, particular those on the vouvray-ness, pear, daffodil, beeswax - it's in there. i love this wine too. isn't it sad how it was $20 for the 2000 a few years ago. everything is getting so expensive.

David McDuff said...

Sad indeed, BG. So many wines I once considered everyday have now become "special" simply based on price point. The dollar may eventually rebound vs. the euro but I'm not sure prices ever will.

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