Domaine des Huards, 2016 Update

Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny are obscure appellations, as indeed I indicated when I wrote up this week’s weekend wine, the 2009 Château d’Epiré Savennières Moelleux (yes, that is a different appellation – I was making a point about how global awareness of Savennières among wine drinkers has perhaps changed). When I taste the wines of Michel Gendrier, of Domaine des Huards, however, I have to ask myself why this obscurity persists. While the crowd-pleasing Cheverny Blanc, a very typical Chardonnay-Sauvignon blend, may be no more than a classic exemplar of the style, many of Michel’s other wines transcend expectations, whether those expectations be based on ill-founded bias or well-founded knowledge of what we might usually find in these two appellations.

Domaine des Huards

The most astonishing wines here are Michel’s many examples of Cour-Cheverny, and while more entry-level cuvées such as Romo are certainly worth looking at, it is the François 1er cuvée which really rules the roost. From fruit grown on limestone, which Michel believes engenders more appealing acidity in the wines, fermented in steel in order to avoid softening this tension, but lees-stirred to build a little richness, these are very stylish wines which transmit the raw character of the variety very well. With age, they develop interesting secondary characteristics, a waxy and oily texture, as well as scents of dried and blanched almonds, all of which relate to variety rather than a confusion of over-complicated winemaking.

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