Going into most wine shops is to be assaulted with a torrent of the well-made but utterly dreary and unmemorable dross that floods the wine world at the moment. I don’t give a tinkers cuss about all those weird appellations from Southern France, Chile or the Cook Islands – they are all the same and they are all dull as a particularly dismal section of meddlesome rat-baggery on BBC News 24. Huet Vouvray Petillant 2007 is nothing like that anodyne crap, it’s brilliant. It’s slightly nasty too, but that doesn’t matter because it is brilliant.
For those who don’t know the story, this will be the last vintage of this mind-expanding/warping wine made by the late, great Gaston Huet’s son-in-law. Noel has fallen out with his business partner Anthony Hwang and will be working elsewhere in the future. A real shame. I didn’t think all his wines were great but this is the squirrel’s scrote. I tell you, it is 78,462 times more compelling than any South African Chardonnay costing even double the amount. Especially if it costs double the amount.
Vouvray Petillant 2007, Domaine Huet
As I said when I first tried fine wine at the age of nine, “Wow, wine can smell of lots of different things!” See? I was right even then. This smells of wax and rotting wood, bread and yeast, glue and sulphur. Sulphur is varietal character for Chenin Blanc, by the way, which is why all those South African ones are crap. This is an amazing roller-coaster ride of trippy drugs as far as a nose goes and, just like the roller-coaster ride of trippy drugs, it may not all be totally nice, but it really moves you and awakens all the recesses of your mind to new and exciting possibilities. There’s not really any fruit, and it’s not much like any conventional fizz, but by my hairy bums do I love it. I find it really attractive, actually, there is so much to keep coming back to and appreciate in more and richer depth. Big bottoms! The palate is even better! Let’s get this out the way first: Oooooowwwwww! Ooooooooooowwwww! Yowch! It’s really acidic and hurts my poor stomach like you would not repeat to a polite member of society. But there is an incredible richness and depth to it which keeps this in perfect balance. The flavours are complex, unusual and winning, with toasty breadiness competing with waxed lemon rinds and all sorts of other weirdy oddities for the strongest of a dazzling array of forceful characters. It’s extremely long and, despite the power of a lot of the flavours, sort-of delicate. It’ll age and improve in a kind of way for decades, but if you open this now you’ll howl with delight at it’s off-the-wall but ultimately personable charms. Amazing; we drink wines to be flabbergasted by things like this, yet it’s only £16 and it’s only at the start of a long, intriguing journey. Buy all you can.