The Best Sparkling Wine Outside Champagne?
2002 Huet Petillant Reserve
Epic Sparkling Vouvray from Loire Legend
We first started searching for the 02 Huet Petillant Reserve in August 2010. Months of hunting yielded exactly one case.
Until recently, when we hit "gold"... which here means basically just a few more cases.
Still, we're giddy over it. Many of you are familiar with Huet's epic 02s, so many of you will understand our obsessive pursuit of this bottle. 2002 was a watershed vintage at Domaine Huet - probably one of the three greatest in the last 40 years, along with 1989 and 1971.
And Huet's basic 02 Petillant was awesome, with a legion of fans - many of you who, like us, fell for it and likely participated in a similar search for the Reserve. The wine was just that good.
What separates the basic (excellent) petillant bottling from the reserve is that the reserve is released later after it's spent more time on the lees. As for the results...
The bottle of 02 Petillant Reserve we drank in June was awe-inspiring. It's certainly not out of line to consider Huet's Petillant Reserve among the best sparkling wines outside of Champagne.
The 02 Reserve shows the chalky, textured minerality along with the stone fruits and spice that's typical of Huet's Petillants, yet it is richer and with distinctly more depth from its longer lees aging. Of course, the signature incisive acidity is there, too, lending fantastic contrast and balance.
Overall, in terms of sparkling Chenin from both Vouvray and the Loire in general, production is shockingly high. All too often, overcropped and underripe grapes find their way into (unsurprisingly) indifferent sparkling wines here. This is simply not the case at Huet: The quality of Huet's petillants offers only more proof that this is a reference point for the entire Loire and one of the great domaines of the wine world.
Huet's wines have long been hoarded by a group of devoted fans, and this is yet another reminder of the domaine's extreme dedication to quality from the top to the bottom of the range.
Nine years after vintage, this is drinking very well now, but be advised that, like all Chenin-based wines, Huet Petillant Reserve undergoes a significant transformation in the cellar as it ages ever so gracefully.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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