2008 Le Haut-Lieu Sec Vouvray

The last couple nights I've enjoyed a 2008 Haut-Lieu sec vouvray. This wine is one of the more expensive I've drunk, running about $32.


(sorry for the askew picture)


This is one of the finest wines I've drunk in quite a while.  My glass wasn't right to get as much of the nose as I should have gotten, but the wine has wonderful subtlety of flavor. I was trying to identify what a predominant note was, I was thinking butterscotch, but I read that these wines often have honey notes, and I think that was it.  Maybe a little vanilla too.  It had a mild acidity that hit the back of the throat and a good finish.


Wikipedia says of these wines, almost all made from the chenin blanc grape, "Most of the vineyards are planted on a plateau with a southern aspect facing towards the river. Viticulture and wine production in the region is dictated almost completely by the climate characteristics of a particular vintage with cooler climate years shifting productions towards dry and sparkling wines while warmer vintages seeing increased production of sweet and even botrytized wines. The harvest in Vouvray is often the last in France to be completed, potentially lasting until November. When sweet and botrytized wine are being produced, the harvest is often very labor-intensive, involving successive tries or passages through the vineyards with harvesters hand-picking only the ripest berries."


As far as the 'sec' designation goes, "[This is] the driest level with 0-0.4% (less than 4 grams per liter) residual sugar. Sometimes producers will specify their bone dry wines as Sec-Sec or 'dry dry' and their slightly less dry wines as Sec-tendres or 'gently dry.'"


The entry says that vouvrays age well and begin to really show their stuff in about 4 years, so I may have drunk this a year or two too early.  A 1947 vouvray from this domaine was #6 in a 2005 listing of the "100 greatest wines."


Although I liked this wine, I wouldn't put it in the top 5 or maybe even 10 wines I've drunk.  To give one example, and perhaps comparing apples and oranges, the Spanish syrah I drank earlier this year was better.  There was just something about this (the immaturity maybe) that made me think it left something (still) to be desired.