2016 Domaine Huet Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux

Year: 2016
Appellation: Loire Valley
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 92
Dessert Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 12.0%
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Le Mont:
Purchased in 1957, Le Mont’s 8 ha of clay soils have a green tinge, with ample stone and silica present. The wines are the most reticent at this estate, but develop the strongest perfume with age.

"Bright, even exuberant in feel, with a parade of Jonagold apple, green melon, Bosc pear and quince flavors streaming through, gilded with heather, honeysuckle and verbena notes on the long, lithe finish. Remarkably elegant despite the off-dry style. Drink now through 2035. 600 cases made. -JM" (WS)

"Intensely yellow in color, the 2016 Vouvray Le Mont Moelleux offers a flinty-piquant bouquet of ripe, super ripe, concentrated, pure and fresh Chenin Blanc aromas. Sweet, piquant and lush on the palate with a certain creaminess, fine tannins, tension and lingering salinity, this is a pure, complex and persistent Chenin Blanc from 40-year-old vines on pebbles, green clay and flint stone (silex). Promising. Tasted February 2018.

Huet's winemaker Jean-Bernard Barthomé classifies the complicated 2016 vintage as "exceptional" in so far as the frost from April 27th reduced 50% of the potential yields. 2016 was also exceptional due to the endless rainfalls in spring that were followed by an exceptional period of drought between July and November. The harvest? "Exceptional!" It started October 6th and went on for three beautiful weeks under a blue, luminous sky. "Beautiful conditions prior to and during the harvest allowed us to make multiple passes through the vineyards," he said, which led to the production of the entire range of table wines from Sec to Première Trie and even the rarely produced "Cuvée Constance" (I haven't tasted the latter yet, though). Bottled in April 2017, all the wines are very delicate, elegant, pure and superbly balanced expressions of their specific terroirs. The Clos du Bourg Moelleux is the first since 2009, and it is fabulous. However, my personal wine of the vintage is the 2016 Le Mont Moelleux Première Trie, which is a very complex and truly exciting Chenin Blanc from flint and green clay soils! Its light, fresh, pure and concentrated style reflects the vintage perfectly, with firm yet vibrant structure, a salty taste, crystalline acidity and a long, complex finish that reflects the great terroir of Le Mont.

The 2015 Cuvée Constance is terribly rich, sweet and intense, a deep and unctuously textured sweet wine to be enjoyed many years from now.

From Huet's German importer I received the three 1997 Première Tries, of which the Clos du Bourg was absolutely amazing. Its lightness, great finesse and elegance is not far from 2016, but 20 years of bottle aging have added enormous complexity. This wine is still available, and Chenin Blanc lovers shouldn't miss it. The bottles I had from Le Mont were not in the best shape, though. When I have the chance to taste it again, you'll read about it." (WA)