2010 Domaine Huet, Vouvray Clos du Bourg Sec
It has been many years since we’ve found a Chenin Blanc from Vouvray worthy of inclusion in this club, and it’s no surprise that we would select a wine from the legendary producer Domaine Huet, who has finally returned to this market after a long absence. Founded in 1928 by Victor Huet, a Parisien bistro owner, the estate rose to prominence through the tireless efforts of his son Gaston, the longtime mayor of Vouvray. (In the book Wine and War, there is an interesting chapter on Gaston Huet’s experiences as a POW during World War II, where the prisoners’ organizing of a special feast with wine literally keeps them alive.) Gaston always believed that the Clos du Bourg was the finest of Domaine Huet’s three Première Côte (Grand Cru) vineyards. First planted in 1953, the six hectare Clos du Bourg has the shallowest and stoniest soils in Vouvray, and the wine combines an intense minerality with a generous texture. It is completely dry yet very aromatic, with notes of green tea and ripe stone fruits. It’s full bodied, with a hint of salinity and a touch of peach on the finish. The estate, now in the capable hands of Gaston’s son-in-law, recommends pairing it with scallops or seafood with a creamy sauce. As an old vine Chenin Blanc, it can definitely age for another three to five years. In short, an amazing wine for $35!
2008 Giuseppe Lonardi, Amarone della Valpolicella
We got a bit of a shock on the Friday before the clubs were due, when the red wine we had originally selected for this club magically “disappeared” from the distributor’s warehouse. Not to worry, while attending a tasting at the Small Vineyards club house on Alki the next Monday, we were delighted to discover that the 2008 version of Giuseppe Lonardi’s Amarone had arrived in Seattle that very day. And so it arrived in our shop just minutes before we opened the doors for August.
Any one who attended the wine dinner with Giuseppe Lonardi at Fresh Bistro three years ago can attest to the high quality and food friendliness of all his wines. He comes from a family of restaurateurs and founded his winery in 1984. He now owns seven hectares of vines, and makes all the traditional wines of the Valpolicella, as well as his Privilegia, a decidedly untraditional blend of Corvina and Cabernet Franc, and even olive oil. His Amarone is very classic and almost always in stock at our shop. It’s luxurious and concentrated, with heady aromas of dried fruit, chocolate and spice. At the wine dinner, the 2004 Amarone was a big hit, paired with Wagyu Short Rib Bourguignon. If you can wait, Amarone can age for 20 years, but it will be hard to resist drinking this one during the upcoming holiday season. It’s $60.