Sometimes you have a night where the wine just clicks, and you enjoy a seamless procession and progression of wines that elevate the food and the evening to something truly memorable. Last Saturday was such an evening, and here are three of the wines that set the stage.
Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec Le Haut-Lieu 2009
The Loire Valley wine region consists of four sub-regions, and given the distance covered, it's no surprise that there is a considerable range of styles produced, from the Sauvignon Blancs of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume in the east, through the Cabernet Francs of Chinon, to the light Muscadets made near the Atlantic. Vouvray lies in the heart of the Touraine, to the north-east of Tours, and the wines are all white, and all made from Chenin Blanc. Domaine Huet has established itself as a leading player in the Loire over the last 80 years, and any of their wines, especially those with age, are worth seeking out. This one is just a baby, but I had to try it. Lovely aromatics, showing honeyed sweetness over some apple and subtle citrus notes. Although there is plenty of honeyed richness on the palate, the high
acidity leads it to a dry, minerally finish with excellent balance. A very good example of a young Chenin Blanc - still very taut, this wine will continue to improve and change
for many years.
Henri Boillot Volnay 1er Cru Les Chevrets 2007
After leaving the family estate to set up his own negociant business twenty years earlier, Henri Boillot returned to buy out his grandfather's estate in 2005, changing its name, and bringing his negociant business with him, with wines under the Maison Henri Boillot name, whereas the estate wines are under Domaine Henri Boillot. This wine is from a vineyard on the south side of Volnay, bordering on to the better known vineyards of Santenots and Caillerets. The nose is very attractive, showing sweet red fruit and some smoky oak. Upfront there is some
lovely, rich fruit sweetness with an underlying minerality on a
well integrated palate. Very pretty now, but I'd be keen to revisit this a few years down the track.
Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Heimbourg Sélection de Grains Nobles 2000
Formed in 1959 by the combining of the estates of Zénon Humbrecht and
Emile Zind, Zind-Humbrecht is now one of the leading estates in Alsace under the leadership of Olivier Humbrecht. Their wines tend to be very rich and powerful, and don't necessarily appeal to all, but they work for me! This is certainly a very rich, opulent dessert wine from the Heimbourg vineyard. Extremely luscious and complex, with distinctive spiciness, I would probably prefer a little more acidity, but it's a minor quibble with such a delicious wine!