French-Swedish online wine dealer Caviste, with a principle of selling mixed cases from one producer at a time, presented (last month) a new Champagne producer in their range: Huré Frères. Currently, this is the third Champagne producer in the Caviste lineup next to Pehu-Simonnet and Savart.
Huré Frères is a smaller Champagne producers located in Ludes, a premier cru village on the northern side of the Montagne de Reims. Here we’re in the cooler part of Pinot country, in the part where both Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir play important roles.
The reason Martin, who runs Caviste, recently has noted this producer is due a change in style over the last couple of years, following a change of generations. Compared to earlier, the style is now more in line with other “modern small producers”. However, the stylistic change is not completed yet and parts of the range – in particular those cuvées not presented by Caviste – still are based on grapes harvested under the previous regime. Thus, reviews of this producer from some years back don’t necessarily represent the Huré Frères cuvées of today.
Invitation – non-vintage white
None-vintage, base 2011 (60%) and reserve wines (40%) from a solera. 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier, and 20% Chardonnay. Disgorged in April 2015, dosage 6 g/l.
Nose with ripe yellow fruit, in particular yellow apples with hints of apple must and winter apples, some fried apples, spice notes, some almond, hints of straw and honey, as well as mineral. (It is possible to imagine that this wine has been topped up with some Chenin Blanc aromas!) A fruity palate with apples of mixed colours (red, yellow, green), an impression of apple must, definitely good acidity, some spices notes, some mineral, and an aftertaste with red and yellow apples. A fruity and apply Champagne in a pure style, and reasonably foody. Doesn’t really need any additional cellaring, but does have the acidity and structure for time in the cellar. 88 p.
The tasting note above is based on a bottle that had been opened for some hours (but kept cold). A freshly opened bottle gave an impression of mineral and a bit more green notes, including green apples, but on the other hand less complexity in its aromas.
Insouciance – non-vintage rosé
None-vintage, base 2012 (70%, of which 5% rödvin) and reserve wines (30%) from a solera. 37,5% Pinot Noir, 37,5% Pinot Meunier, and 25% Chardonnay. Disgorged April 2015, dosage 6 g/l.
The colour is deep salmon. Rather deep and fruity nose with wild strawberries, red apples, some spice notes, and hints of cherry pits. A fruitier and more berry-dominated nose than the white version above. Fruity palate, apply with mostly red apples, hints of apple must, good acidity, noticeable spice, some mineral, and an apply and berry-dominated aftertaste with some bite of green apples at the end. A fruity and apply style, just as the white version, it doesn’t really need cellaring. 88 p.
Comes across as slightly heavier than the white version (the current base vintage in the rosé, 2012, is supposed to be a slightly better vintage than the 2011), but with slightly less obvious minerality. A freshly opened bottle gave an impression of a bit more mineral and green apple notes, but showed less berry notes, i.e., came across as “less red”.
Disgorged June 2015, 35% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir, and 30% Pinot Meunier, dosage 3.5 g/l.
Nose with apple notes including some fried apples, mineral, some almonds and other nuts, hints of cocoa powder, some straw and other notes that I associate with “modern small grower Champagnes”. Palate with apples of mixed colours, some apple must character, hints of fried apple, good concentration, definitely a pronounced minerality (of the chalky and “mineral water-styled” type), some spice notes, high acidity, and an aftertaste with apple and mineral. Approachable now, but could develop more, 90(+) p.
Compared to the two non-vintage cuvées, the 2008 isn’t that much heavier, but shows a completely different dominance of minerals on the palate that lifts it to a higher level. Again, 2008 proves just how good the vintage is! A marvelous Champagne for its price. Apparently, Caviste was first to get 2008 delivered, so this vintage may not yet have showed up in most markets where Huré Frères can be found.
Summing up my stylistic impression of these wines, I’d say that they show some “modern small grower character” in the form of some firmness and “terroir feeling”. However, these characters are mot as pronounced as at e.g. Savart. Instead, I’d place these Champagnes mid-way between such a style and a “regular small grower style”. They are also rather ready to drink, even the vintage Champagne. In summary, this makes them very easy to like. The style is also fairly typical for the local grape material, i.e., a Pinot blend from a cool area. (Possibly, the rosé gives a somewhat hotter impression than the rest.)
This was my first real encounter with Huré Frères. I did recognise the name, probably because they are member in one of the associations of small producers, Les Artisans du Champagne, whom I visited last year. Several other members in the same organisation are quite familiar names to me, such as Savart, Vilmart, and Pierre Péters.