Domaine Huet Vouvray Petillant 2014
Only the best grower Champagnes produce sparkling wines with the kind of interest, sense of place and attention to detail offered by this wine. Bottled at a low pressure of 2.5 atmospheres, (most Champagnes are between five and six), this wine has a lighter fizz than most sparkling wines. The fruit is all Estate grown and certified biodynamic. Crafted in a hybrid méthode ancestrale style--in so far as only natural sugar in the must was used for the second fermentation--it's a wine that is made in years that favour dry wine production and comes from the Estate's youngest vines. Bottled in September '15, The '14 spent 36 months, on lees in the Huet cellars, and has just 1.2 g/L residual sugar (when appropriate, the wine is dosed with Demi-sec or Moelleux wines from a previous vintage). To quote sparkling wine authority Peter Liem on the style, "it's a magical, intensely expressive wine, and ridiculously inexpensive for the quality." From a superb vintage where Huet's Chenin fruit paraded intense mineral force, this 2014 floats across the palate. Refinement, perfumed, pure fruit and with terrific tension and freshness.
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- Green Apple
- Green Apple
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
The Loire Valley wine region lies between the center and the northwest of France, along the Loire river. It is home to some of France's most well-known wines, notably, Sancerre, Muscadet, Vouvray and Pouilly-Fume.
The majority of output from Loire production is white wine, from grape varieties such as Sauvignon blanc, Chenin Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne grapes. There are in total 87 appellations in Loire, stretching from the Atlantic coast and heading inland near the city of Orléans. The region is commonly divided in to three subregions. The upper Loire is predominantly Sauvignon Blanc and includes the areas of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Middle Loire is mostly under Chenin Blanc (and some Cabernet Franc) and includes villages of Touraine, Saumur, Chinon and Vouvray. Lastly in the lower Loire, to the west the Melon de Bourgogne grape variety thrives in the Muscadet region and is the most widely planted grape in the Loire.
Producers to seek out and try include: Henri Bourgeois, Mark Bredif, Domaine Bernard Fleuriet, Vincent Pinard, Eric Bordelet and Gerard Boulay.
Vouvray is a French Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) region in the Loire Valley, located in the Touraine district. The vast majority of the wines produced are whites, still or sparkling and the main variety is Chenin Blanc, though a lesser known grape Arbois is also permitted, but it doesn't get much exposure. The Chenin Blanc wines from Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards are known to be some of the most ageworthy whites on the planet. Extraordinary wines capable of 50 years or more in your cellar.
The region begins at the eastern edge of Tours and extends through seven communes along the right bank of the Loire and along its tributary, the Brenne. The climate is at the meeting points of maritime and continental climates. The predominantly cool weather is balanced with plenty of sunshine hours in Autumn, which are enough to ripen grapes for sweet wine production.
The soils are a unique mix of white Turonian chalk (on the hillsides) whilst the valley floor is perruche (flint and clay) and aubuis (chalk and clay).
The residual sugar content of Vouvray wines and their labeling is as follows: Sec (Dry) wines have less than 9 grams of residual Sugar; Tendre, Demi-Sec (off dry) wines have residual sugar in the range of 9-15 grams, which is the classic Vouvray style and as such doesn't require label designation. The sweetest are the wines labelled Moelleux (Sweet) which will have a minimum of 15 grams, but in practice they often have far higher levels.
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