Archive for ‘France: Loire’

December 31, 2018

Domaine Huet Vouvray, Clos du Bourg, 2015

Where to start?  How about magnificent?  How about exceptional?  How about demonstrably brilliant?

 

Huet is expensive, it’s a splurge for us, but every year Marquis on Davie gets a truckload and we pick up a few for the cellar.  We drank this too soon.  We couldn’t resist.  Yet it didn’t disappoint, not one iota.

 

The balanced fruit, a luscious caramel, sweetish without cloying, delicate but not lightweight, it defies description.  Three times as much as we like to pay for wine but worth every cent.

 

Price: Around $60 at Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: A Christmas miracle.

December 22, 2018

Savennieres Chateau de Varenees, 2016

What an exceptional varietal.  You never know with Chenin.  Witness Vouvray.  The Huet socked away in the cellar.  And South Africa, so much to revel in.  But, alas, not so much this sere and abrasive assertive white.

 

Austere.  Could have been crafted by the Amish.  Simply too dry for our taste.  Really not that food friendly unless you’re eating rich, French rich, fish in butter rich, but if all you’re doing is drinking to cut the richness, a Coke will do.

 

Gismondi loved it.  It is of its ilk and like many whites you will come across in France but it was a non-starter for us, from sipping to accompanying food.

 

Price: No record, which leads me to believe it might have been gifted, as I’m rather fastidious about this sort of thing, although online $30 at BC Liquor.

 

Market Liquidity: BC Liquor describes it as having “aromatic persistence.”  Hmm.  Could be a description of Febreeze.

August 9, 2018

Domaine Franck Millet, Sancerre Rouge, 2016

The white is available at a much higher price in private stores and, generally, if you live in BC and are looking at Sancerre you are looking at whites.  So, let’s start with praising BCL for having a lovely red Sancerre, at a price point under $30 (although just), and giving pause to the much higher priced Pinot Noir churned out in BC that can’t compare.  Its lightness speaks to rosé.  Look at that glorious ruby red in the picture, light as a feather.  Gismondi quite liked it, more than us I would say, silky I think was his term, and it does have a perfumed freshness, rose and lavender, with a musky finish.  There is a whole red currant grape jelly “thing” on the palate that dissipates into air which makes you take another sip and another.  I couldn’t quite wrap my loving arms around it and give it the props the pros have but it is a lovely summer read, er red, a refreshing 12.5% alcohol, dreamy with a Cobb salad, but it was also a one off; not for us.

 

Price: Around $30 at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Like age appropriate clothing, it has its place.

 

December 16, 2017

Domaine Huet Le Mont Demi-Sec Vouvray, 2015

So a day or two ago we wrote about being let down by Champagne.  Which, to be honest, wasn’t fair to Champagne, it was more about the cost penalties of living in and buying wine in BC.  Most decent Champagnes in BC retail before taxes at around the $60 mark.  But here’s the rub: If you’re truly willing to spend $60 on a bottle of wine, why not go all out and get a Loire Chenin?

 

In December, when we pull out all the stops on decent bottles, we love to love Domaine Huet.  (The blog has a smattering of Huet posts including a 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2009, of various sorts and sites.)  We usually rip through a variety of the house, from sparkling on down (or up, as the price point goes and as our budget allows).  For a special day in advance of Christmas we pulled out the Mont Demi-Sec: and the semi-sweet is, well, rapturous.

 

Online I’ve seen reviews all over the map, so many adjectives I don’t know what the pros are thinking, it’s like they just wrote down words, maybe it was euphoria, but in a rare moment of total accord I would say the team over at WA hit the nail on the head when they described it as being “deep, rich and flinty on the nose, with caramel and vegetable flavors indicating a great complexity. Full-bodied, dense and powerful, this is highly complex and persistent, yet refreshing and transparent Chenin with a juicy fruit and lots of grip, energy and tension” and then blessed it with 96 points.

 

I would say, from the layperson’s view, if you can appreciate it, if you can even wrap your mind around how mind-numbingly harmonious this wine is, it is worth every penny of the $60 you will shell out.  And umpteen times more memorable than a bottle of Mumm.  Or, as we wrote recently, Moutard.

 

Price: $60 from Marquis.  God Bless Marquis.

 

Market Liquidity: A trip to the moon on gossamer wings.

August 17, 2016

Domaine du Bouchot, Pascale Kerbiquet Pouilly Fume 2014

Domaine du Bouchot, Pascale Kerbiquet Pouilly Fume 2014

Refined summer sipper, elegant dinner aperitif.  What did Hugh Johnson say about PF?  Something like “consistently disappointing.”  I guess, however, it depends on your view.  There is kumquat, orange rind, grapefruit pith, so the bouquet and finish combine from sour to stinging.  But the gobs of unctuous citris provide a long, round finish with a nutty, fresh cut grass flourish.  This certainly isn’t NZ Sauv Blanc.  No, it’s a gift from France.  Wrap it up and serve it with vichyssoise.

 

Price: $17 USD in Seattle.

 

Market Liquidity: It’s the proverbial smiley emoticon.  With a beret of course.

March 17, 2016

Cuvée Domaine du Bouchot, Pouilly-Fumé, 2014

Cuvée Domaine du Bouchot, Pouilly-Fumé, 2014The most balanced, exquisite and nuanced Sauvignon Blanc I’ve drunk in years. Astonishingly pleasurable; no hard herby knocks or jolting hay, clean and smooth like a manicured field, bare hints of the barnyard, much more mineral than grass, stone and flint without the acid, pure satisfaction. Could not, however, stand up to a well-spiced dinner or saffron scented Provencal stew.

 

Price: $17 USD in 2015.

 

Market Liquidity: A rare bird in a flock of New World SB mediocrity.

April 20, 2015

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, 2013

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon, 2013

We like Chinon. The Cabernet-Franc wine that is. We can’t afford Chinon. The wine or the ticket to France. So we buy cab franc from South American and other new world growers. The Raffault is a base model or entry level sipper that makes a lovely late in the day red for lighter fare and just plain enjoyment. It doesn’t have the power of better bottles, nor the heft, but it still evokes that musty, barnyard, smoky, berry, leathery flavour of CF. Readily available in BC at $22, a great intro for those unaccustomed to masculine reds.

 

Price: $22 at BCL.

 

Market Liquidity: Good value. What else is there to say?

April 16, 2014

Serge Dagueneau & Filles Pouilly Fume, Tradition, 2011

1592You meet someone at a party. Have a nice chat. Two days later you meet them on the street and can’t remember their name. That is this wine. It represents PF fine, has a toasty flair more smoke than grass, and warms to a gentle floral bouquet, there is really nothing offensive. It shows none of the forward notes of, say, a good Sancerre, and drank well with fish, but it has nothing strikingly unique or wonderful or worthy of the price tag. And this is their base model; BC Liquor has a $40 bottle of their “finer” PF.  As much as we adore the Loire, pass.

 

Price: $30 at BC Liquor

 

Market Liquidity: More like a fad than a fashion.

May 6, 2013

Huet Vouvray, Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux, 2008

003From the cellar: If you can cope with brilliance you can get this plonk down.  To which I mean, this is as fine and brilliant as the first time you walk into the Pantheon in Rome where there is nothing but everything.  This wine has that sort of same geometric balance, majesty and awe-inspiring depth.  If you had, say, become jaded with the dross of product adorning the shelves at everyday liquor stores and happened upon this vintage from Huet, you would be redeemed.  It’s a miracle.

 

Honey, litchi, lavender, a gorgeous bouquet.  Light like finest Alsace but not a lightweight; sweet and creamy but not cloying like some German Riesling.  Indescribably rich and rewarding.

 

Expensive.  But there’s a history: I had a 40 year old bottle of Huet Vouvray on a significant birthday some years ago and ever since succumbed to the mysteries of this great domaine.  It’s not like “Vouvray,” not like the Vouvray you’ve seen on a bistro menu in Tours.  Even if it’s a once in a lifetime thing, sooner or later you must try a fine vintage from Huet.  We loved the Sec, two vintages, 2001 and 2009, and the sparkling was a fine aperitif too.  But this moelleux, it takes the cake.

Price: $47 at Marquis a year or two (or probably more) ago.

 

Market Liquidity: State of grace.

July 23, 2012

Huet Vouvray, Le Haut-Lieu Sec, 2001

From the cellar: Dug out a lone bottle of Le Haut Lieu Vouvray Sec which was just begging to be taken outside for some sunshine and deck time.  Opened up like fruit punch.  Peach and peach fuzz, a strong flavour reminiscent of wet rock (what wine reviewers commonly call limestone, although I’m not an expert on the mineral palette).  Apple followed with a citrus twist on the finish which I’ll artfully call pomelo.

 

As an aperitif bone dry and sharp and calling out for something (maybe a cheese crisp or a pistachio, something to cut the acid).  With food (a wonderful patio summer dinner of cold chicken—a marinated free range spatchcock bbq’d earlier—with fresh summer vegetables and some spiced apricots) quit nice, refreshing, a decent 12 per cent alcohol.

 

Not stellar.  Not like the 2009 sec reviewed here or the fabulous petillant (which I must get off my butt and review).  Also, I’m not confident this was the “keeper” the reviewers claimed back in the day (I had clipped an “expert” opinion stating this could rest until 2018…).  Still, I would take a case of anything from Huet. They make interesting, out-of-the-ordinary wine that is a break from trends and dominant tastes.

 

Price: I didn’t record it.  Probably $40+ at Marquis who sells Huet locally (the 2009 was $34).

 

Market Liquidity: It was what it was.