Two gems from Chateau du Hureau - Printable Version

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- Scoop - 09-14-1999 01:46 PM

The Vatan brothers'(Georges and Philippe) Chateau du Hureau winery has earned accolades as an innovative and coming producer from the Samur region of the Loire Valley.

The following two beautifully made and very reasonably priced wines give proof positive that the buzz about Hureau is deserved.

Chateau du Hureau 1997 Samur-Champigny Grand Cuvee ($11.99 retail): A juicy and approachable, yet highly nuanced Cabernet Franc, far removed from the ubiquitous Champigny bistro swill. It's a deeply intense ruby with a pronounced nose of black cherries, violets, anise and hints of cocoa. Dry with balanced acidity, medium (soft)tannins and body (most like a cru beaujolais) and flavors of black cherry, smoky tea and herbs. Medium body, medium-high alcohol (13.5%) and a long, hedonistic finish. Very food friendly. Does throw some sediment (non-filtered). Drinks beautifully now, but could be interesting to see where it goes a year from now.

Chateau du Hureau 1996 Samur Blanc ($11.99): This is 100% Chenin Blanc, and I mean BIG, almost wild Chenin Blanc. Clear, medium-gold with an intensely prounced nose of honey, honeysuckle and quince. Bordering on off-dry (some residual sugar is present), it is crisp and full-bodied with a palate reflective of the nose (especially the quince). Very high alcohol (14%)and super length on the finish. Certainly capable of (and probably could stand) some bottle age. Let this one breath. Would be great with some roasted duck. A lovely monster and a bargain.


C. Matthews

- Bucko - 09-14-1999 06:39 PM

I have heard of Vatan wines and have drank them but I have not heard of Chateau Hureau before. Any more info? Second label? New project? I am out of the loop? TIA.


- Thomas - 09-14-1999 06:40 PM

Thanks for this tip -- always interested in something exciting like Loire products. Hope I can find them.

- Scoop - 09-15-1999 10:39 AM

Known for a long time as a reputable producer in Samur-Champigny appellation, Chateau Hureau has been part of the Vatan family going way back. But it's been in the last decade that the winemaking and bottlings have made a quantum leap forward. New generation. New ideas. Same excellent terroir. Hureau is right up there with Filliatreu (sp?)in reputation in the Samur.

Vatan is a pretty common name in the Loire Valley -- in fact, I think there is a Sancerre producer by the name Vatan -- so this might be a point of confusion.

The "Grand Cuvee" is their "low-end" product; in the middle (and I'n talking Cab Franc here) is the "Fevettes" and at the high end is the "Lisagath", which supposedly just won a prestigous award in France (and will now be even harder to obtain). I've heard great things about the Lisagath, and I hope to try one soon. If I do, I'll post a note.

The 1997 Saumur Blanc has just been released, which is apparently as big as the 1996 I tasted, but with some judicious use of new oak for the first time. Could be interesting, but I like that pure unrestrained fruit of the 1996.

In New York, Garnet Wines imports directly from Hureau, in decent quantity. I'm waiting for a new shipment of the Grand Cuvee. In theory some Hureau wines are available on the West Coast through an Los Angeles outfit by the name of Pivotal (this is second hand information, however).

I hope this helps. These wines are certainly worth finding.