The Wines of Alexis Hudon
Though Alexis Hudon might be new to the winemaking scene in the Loire, his early vintages demonstrate his skills in making affordable wines.
One the most exciting things about the wine world right now is that younger, more adventurous winemakers are opening up shop in more traditional winemaking enclaves, shaking things up in the process. One such person is Alexis Hudon, who by way of Quebec City and Paris, studied under Julien Guillot, Nicolas Réau, Cyril Zangs, and Bertrand Jousset. 2018 was his first year of solo releases, made from grapes out of various plots around Bourges, a small city in the Loire known for its distinct half-timbered houses and Gothic cathedral.
For 2019, Hudon has made three wines that we were eager to try. The first ‘La Charge!’ is Pet Nat made primarily from Menu Pineau, with small amounts of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. The second is ‘Matouse’, which trades traditional Sauvignon Blanc for a richer but still precise flavor palette. Finally is ‘Groseille’, which manages to let the youthful Gamay fruit shine.
Interestingly, all of Hudon’s wines feature high ABVs, ranging from the mid-13s to the mid 14s. For all the complexity they offer, Hudon manages to find balance that each of the individual grapes bring, which can be rare at price points under $25 in the Loire or anywhere in Europe at the moment.
The ‘La Charge!’ – as we mentioned above – primarily relies on Menu Pineau (also known as Arbois), even though it is typically only used as a blending agent due to its high yield and softer acidity.
The vigorous bubbles upon opening evolve into smaller, more persistent bubbles throughout each sip. On the nose, there are whiffs of green apple and minerals. Upfront the wine also features these apple notes but we also get honeydew melon. Since ‘La Charge!’ is lower in acid, it relies instead on a dominant, chalky minerality to guide itself forward to pleasing effect. Interestingly, honeyed and almost caramelized sweetness builds into the finish. Though this wine is quite dry, this textural contrast adds a depth that we enjoy.
When you think of Sauvignon Blanc the first thing that comes to mind is probably easy, breezy summer fun. Right?
With ‘Matousé’, Hudon shows the riper and richer side of the grape that for his 2019 vintage clocks in at over 14% ABV. Despite its richness, however, the racy acidity and refreshing notes that build as things open up reveal a wine with much life. On the nose, savory, herbal notes are predominant with nutty and white peach qualities as we take our first sips. Acid is the guide here, providing a vehicle forward for a clean and precise wine that allows grassy, limey notes to build subtly. It might not be a pucker fest with each glass but this wine is still a remarkably enjoyable, standalone sipper for a summer evening.
Who doesn’t love a young, fresh Gamay? Hudon’s ‘Groseille’ clocks in at a hefty 14% ABV but still remains lithe. In the glass, we can’t help but notice the rich purple color. This wine is fruit forward on the nose and palette with tart red cherry and hints of blackberry dominating along with structured acidity. Obviously low in tannins, the predominate complexity of the wine comes from it earthy, soil notes that build through the mid palette. A few years of cellar aging would likely develop these further but for now they provide a counterbalance to the fruitiness that leads this wine. While drinkable now, it would also be a perfect transition into the cooler fall months.
We are excited to have Alexis Hudon’s wines in stock. They are affordable and honest winemaking in a moment when tariffs and unpredictable weather have rendered French winemaking, in particular, a challenge. As late frosts continue, hail storms become more numerous, and heatwaves grow ever longer, we hope the charms of the Loire continue to shine as they have with these three bottles.
Until next time, happy sipping!