and his wife built up a domaine with a formidable reputation over the years following its creation by Victor Huet
, his father, in 1928. Gaston, war hero and one-time mayor of Vouvray
, managed the family domaine from 1947 until his death in 2002. He was a prisoner for most of the Second World War and longed for his home and for the taste of his Vouvray. He managed to arrange a special wine celebration in the POW camp. "It saved our sanity . . . Talking about wine and sharing it made all of us feel closer to home and more alive. It was only a thimbleful but it was glorious and the best wine I ever drank."
The Huet Style
The entirety of the vineyard plantings at the estate were given over to the versatile and often under-appreciated Chenin Blanc. Climate plays a huge part in the wine-making in each vintage with warmer years creating unctuously sweet wines (moёlleux for which Huet is renowned and doux the sweetest of all styles). Cooler vintages result in fruit which is used in the production of vivacious demi-sec, bone-dry sec or pétillant sparkling wines. It is important to emphasise that regardless of the sweetness level, the hallmark of Chenin Blanc and indeed Domaine Gaston Huet is an unmistakable freshness and natural acidity which permit the wines to age for centuries
The domaine is now run by Noel Pinguet, Gaston's son-in-law. Biodynamic techniques have been used at all of Domaine Huet's vineyards since 1990. AThe estate comprises three vineyards, all with their own unique blueprint and personality: Le Haut-Lieu, Le Clos du Bourg and Le Mont. The original vineyard, Le Haut-Lieu (literally meaning ‘the high place’) surrounds the house and extends for some nine hectares. The soil is made up of three metres of clay at the surface, underpinned by Vouvray’s famous sedimentary limestone. Its wines are opulent and approachable when young but are genuine vins de gardes and benefit from long-term ageing.
Le Clos du Bourg, which was purchased by Gaston in 1953, is the oldest site in the appellation of Vouvray, dating back to the eighth century. The allure of this vineyard is not entirely contained within its neat and historic walls but moreover its reputation for producing formidable sweet wines. The final musketeer completing the trio is the most famous, Le Mont, with its green-tinged soils and late-harvesting vines from which Gaston produced his longest-lived and arguably most famous wines.