Muscadet Report: The 2018s Are Coming! Outstanding Wines 2014 - 2017 to Drink or Cellar. Oysters and Muscadet at Racines, Tuesday, 4/23!

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Finally, in 2018, most estates in the Pays Nantais had harvests with normal yields and of exceptional quality! The 2018s we tasted in France this winter were marked by a bit of extra ripeness and white fruit while retaining the mineral flavors and firm acidities Muscadet is known for. Our first 2018 comes from our friends Rémi, Gwénaëlle and Marc at Domaine de la Pépière - the 2018 "Cuvée Pépie." This first bottling of "Pépie" shows a bit more apple and pear fruit and a softer palate than normal, as 20 - 30% of the juice went through the malo-lactic conversion. It's a delicious Muscadet in a rounder style which will be a great match for any seafood and white meat dishes this spring and summer. Other early arrivals to look out for will be the 2018 Bregeonnette from Stéphane Orieux and the scintillating 2018 "Amphibolite" from Jo Landron, arriving in early May.

In the meantime, we are proud to offer an oustanding selection of Muscadet from 2014, 2015 and 2017, both for superb current drinking and for cellaring of twenty years or more. 2017 was a very difficult vintage throughout the Loire with many regions suffering frost damage in April, after a warm winter and early spring. Vineyards around Nantes were badly hit with many growers losing 50% or more of their crop, forcing them to puchase fruit to produce their basic cuvées. Happily for us, small quantities of excellent wines were made in 2017 as weather in the summer and early fall was sunny, producing Muscadets with lovely fruit and very firm acidities. The wines from Pépière and L'Ecu offered today are drinking  beautifully now, with the "Briords" and "Granite" capable of graceful aging over the next fifteen years.

2015 was a great vintage for Muscadet, producing wines with beautiful ripeness, generally with lower acidities than the 2014s. Many great wines were made that are lovely now, especially on the granite terroirs with good drainage, such as the Pépière Chateau-Thebaud "Clos des Morines."  My favorite wine of the vintage may be the Luneau-Papin "Excelsior Clos des Noelles," from massale-selection vines planted in 1936 on a terroir of "micaschistes a deux micas," (lieu-dit "La Plecisiere") exposed full south. This is a wine of sensational complexity and elegance which is delicious now, but will be at it's best five to fiteen years from now.

The 2014 vintage offered a near perfect comination of vibrant fuit and firm acidity (as with many Loire reds as well) and we are sorry to have only a few bottles available at this time. Please be sure to cellar them for another ten years...

Oysters and Muscadet! Of course, this is one of the most joyfull wine pairings possible, and Chef Diego Moya of Racines NY is sourcing some great bivalves for us - "Lever du Soleil" from Nova Scotia and "Wellfleet Petite" from Welfleet Harbor - with some creative home-made condiments. We'll pair them with six half-pours of great Muscadets from 2012 - 2018 (mostly from today's email) starting at 6pm this Tuesday the 23rd. A half-dozen oysters and a half-dozen Muscadets, $50. (Additional oysters $2 each) Please call Racines, 212-227-3400, or email info@racinesny.com for reservations.

Pépière 2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine s Lie La Pépie

Our first 2018 comes from our friends Rémi, Gwénaëlle and Marc at Domaine de la Pépière - the 2018 "Cuvée Pépie." This first bottling of "Pépie" shows a bit more apple and pear fruit and a softer palate than normal, as 20 - 30% of the juice went through the malo-lactic conversion. It's a delicious Muscadet in a rounder style which will be a great match for any seafood and white meat dishes this spring and summer.

  • white
  • 47 in stock
  • $14.99

  • Organic

Pépière 2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Les Gras Moutons

This lovely wine clearly illustrates the difference between the granite and gneiss terroirs in Muscadet. Gras Moutons, a great parcel on gneiss with clay and amphibolite stones, produces lovely, classic Muscadet. A wine to drink over the next 5 to 8 years, it has a more herbal and floral bouquet than the granite-based wines and the palate, although refreshing and bright, is softer and more open.  In 2017 the majority of the grapes were lost to frost, but the portion that remained made a beautiful wine showing pretty herbal, citrus,  and white fruit aromas.  The palate is elegant and bright with pear, quince, lime-flower and lemon backed by silky lemony acidity and mineral flavors. Perfect with oysters, mild flavored fish and chicken dishes and goat cheeses.  David Lillie

  • white
  • 6 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic

Pépière 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Ch.Thébaud "Morines"

The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines in a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river Maine. The granite here  (granite de Château-Thébaud) is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. The grapes are hand harvested, fed into the press by gravity and undergo a one to two month fermentation with wild yeasts. The wine ages "sur-lie" for 30 months with regular battonage, contributing to the complex aromatics and richness of the wine.  The 2015 Chateau Thébaud is a gorgeous wine, showing a bright pale gold color with ripe aromas of candied citrus, melon, pear, honeysuckle, wet stone, almond and licorice. The palate is silky and quite rich for a Muscadet, with white and yellow fruits, citrus and mineral flavors, with hints of anise and licorice emerging, with the firm acidity in the background. This very young wine is delicous now, but please decant or open well in advance. As with "Briords," this reminds me of the 2009, which is drinking beautifully in 2018. Serve with oysters and fish such as sole, cod and halibut, white meats as well, great with goat cheeses. Highly recommended!  David Lillie

  • white
  • 15 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Landron, Jo 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Haute Tradition

La Haute Tradition is a beautiful Muscadet from our friend Jo Landron that is rarely seen in the US. The grapes are from old vines in the "Les Houx" vineyard on iron-rich clay over subsoils of orthogneiss with quartz, giving a dense powerful Muscadet that is aged for about a year in wooden foudres.The wine shows elegant aromas of lemon peel, stone, ripe pear, almond, anise and honeysuckle. While it's similar to Jo's superb Fief du Breil, the palate shows more ripeness -  quite round and full for a Muscadet, with sapid white fruits, citrus, anise and licorice, with terrific density backed by firm acidity. The finish is long and lovely with with bitter lemon, pear, anise and stone. This is a superb Muscadet that should be opened well in advance or decanted if drinking now, or cellar five years then drink until 2035. Serve with fish in sauce, grilled lobster (!), veal, roast chicken and goat or sheep cheeses.  David Lillie

  • white
  • 10 in stock
  • $23.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur
  • white
  • 2 in stock
  • $57.99

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Ecu (Fred Niger) 2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite

Guy Bossard has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and is still producing superb wines, while in (semi) retirement, with the new owner Fred Niger Van Herck.  The Domaine de l'Ecu  2017 "Granite" is particularly outstanding, amazingly elegant with a wonderful combination of delicacy and depth.  The wine shows beautiful floral aromas of lemon peel, dried pear, wet stone and lime-flower with hints of almond and anise. The palate is dense and very long in this difficult but ripe vintage with intense stony flavors, pear, citrus and  earth.  A bit more open and accessible than some vintages of Granite but with ample structure and acidity for aging — perhaps best 2022 to 2035. Serve this summer with oysters, cod and sole, then with richer dishes after the wine matures. Bravo to Guy and Fred! 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur

Pépière 2017 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Briords Vieilles Vignes

(Last of stock!) First produced in 1988, this great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selection vines (all over 60 years old, with a high percentage much older) on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Château Thébaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage.)  The warm winter and early spring of 2017 in much of France brought early development to the vines, followed by a hard freeze at the end of April that killed the developing leaves and grapes. Losses were high in many parts of France, especially in the Loire Valley, and hot, dry summer weather further lessened the yields. Fortunately the quality of the resulting wines, is frequently outstanding as is the case with the superb 2017 Domaine de la Pépière "Briords." The harvest started two weeks early, on the 29th of August, bringing in ripe grapes with a lovely balance of maturity and acidity. The aromas are classic Briords, with white fruits, citrus rind, almond and stone with hints of white pepper and anise. The palate shows nice ripeness and density, a bit closed, with wet stone and citrus and very firm acidity underlying the tart white fruits. This is a tight and classy Briords that will need a decant if drinking young, preferably wait three to five years and drink until 2035(?).  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $19.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Pépière 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clisson

(Last of stock) Beginning in 2005, Domaine de la Pépière has produced this cuvée from a small parcel of 50 to 110 year-old vines within the Pepiere vineyard. Originally called "Granite de Clisson" after the unique bedrock in the vineyard, Marc has changed the name to "Clisson" to agree with the new INAO Cru Communal classification. The granite is covered with gravel and clay with large stones, ensuring good drainage and deep penetration by the roots into the fissures in the bedrock, bringing the mineral elements indispensable to this wine.Tasted in France in January 2018, the wine showed a pale gold color with lovely aromas of dried pear, quince, almond, lemon-confit and stone, ripe but quite fresh. The palate was quite  dense, showing firm acidity and mineral flavors supporting white fruits, citrus, anise and almond, with terrific length. This is an excellent "Clisson" with attractive forward fruit for early drinking as well as firm structure for aging of fifteen to twenty years or more. David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic

Pépière 2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Gorges

We're exstatic to have this superb new Muscadet from Pépière. The product of an exchange of juice with Fred Lailler at Domaine Bregeon (pressed at Bregeon), the wine underwent a slower fermentation than at Bregeon, and was then aged 42 months on the lees. From Juliette Pope of David Bowler Wines "We tasted the 2014 Gorges out of vat, along with everything else, last January (2018) with Marc and Rémi, and it blew me away. Marc waxed quite poetic, declaring it his favorite of his bottlings right now, along with the Château-Thébaud." From Bregeon's vines on Gabbro with clay topsoils  (in conversion to organic) the 2014 Gorges is an austere yet dense and beautifully structured wine, with unique aromas showing almond, melon and petrol notes in addition to bitter lemon, stone and white fruits. The palate is dense with ripe pear and quince, earth, almond, anise and citrus notes, with stone, lemon peel and white fruits lingering in the finish. Although vibrant and delicious now, we would recommend waiting for eight to ten years before opening for peak enjoyment. Highly recommended!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $24.99

  • Organic

Pépière 2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clos des Briords

Last of Stock! (From three hectares of old vines on granite of Chateau Thébaud with well-drained soils of clay, sand and gravel. Hand harvested, transported in small baskets, cellar functions by gravity, no pumping, wild-yeast fermentation, seven months aging on the lees.) A classic Clos des Briords from this excellent vintage in the Loire - a season that started poorly but was saved by good weather from mid-August through September. The aromas show more white fruits than usual in this ripe vintage with herbal, mineral, stone and lemon-peel, quite lovely. The palate is dense and creamy with apple/pear fruit, wet stone, saline minerals and citrusy acids. A bit rounder perhaps, than the 2010 and 2012 and wonderful now with oysters, sole, flounder and richer fish dishes as well. From the Domaine: "The Spring was very classic, not too cold, not too warm, and wet as usual. The flowering went well which permitted a nice quantity and quality of grapes. The month of July was sunny but August began like a poor autumn, cold and humid. Late in August we really didn't know what would happen as the risk of rot was very high. Then, after a last big storm around August 24th, dry, warm and sunny weather began which lasted until October. The grapes matured and were of excellent quality with both high sugar and high acidity! We picked the Briords parcel on Monday Sept 15th and Tuesday the 16th in the early part of the harvest. The fermentations went well, lasting approximately a month and a half. I would say that it's a vintage representing what we like in Briords: citrusy vivacity, scintillating material and salinity in the finish."
 

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic