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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin MW in Tokaj

Domaine Hut, widely regarded as one of the best estates in the Vouvray appellation, has been purchased for an unspecified sum by leading Tokaji producer Istvn Szepsy and the Chinese-American financier Anthony Hwang, in a deal which unites two of the world's great sweet wine domaines under one banner. The 40 hectare Loire estate, whose labels include Clos du Bourg, Le Haut Lieu and Le Mont, will benefit from E1 million of investment, according to Hwang, to buy new barrels and cellar equipment. The aim is also to make a significant reduction in yields, to enable the winemaker, Noel Pinguet, to make the wines he wants to make', Hwang told Harpers. A fourth Hut vineyard, Vodanis, will no longer be used for the domaine's wines. We are not happy with the quality there,' added Hwang. Hwang and Szepsy have been looking at Hut for two years and nearly secured the deal after the death of the long-term winemaker and owner, Gaston Hut, aged 92, last year. French bureaucracy is complicated,' Hwang commented. Under the new terms of ownership, winemaker Noel Pinguet becomes a significant shareholder in the estate, with 20% of the capital. The rest of the shares belong to Szepsy and Hwang, who are already partners in Kirlyudvar and Zemplen Ridge, their joint ventures in Tokaj.