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Back in 2008 we had the good fortune to be present at a dinner in Nantes with four giants of Muscadet - Guy Bossard, Jo Landron, Pierre Luneau-Papin and Marc Ollivier of the Domaine de la Pépière. Each vigneron brought many bottles, with vintages all the way back to 1976! At the end of the night Guy Bossard stood and raised his glass to Barack Obama (it was just before the election) and then proclaimed that, for him, the "wine of the night" was the 1996 Clos des Briords. Marc was quite pleased of course, especially as, at the time, he did not often hang-out with these super-stars from the other side of the Sèvre. The wine was sensational, of course, and the 1996 Landron Fief du Breil, the 1990 Bossard (Domaine de l'Ecu) Cuvée Granite, and the 1976 Luneau-Papin "L d'Or" were pretty fabulous as well. Which brings us to the 2015 Clos des Briords which has just arrived in New York - a vintage that has the potential for greatness due to its ripeness and balance. Though it does not possess the searing acidity and concentration of the 1996, we were very impressed with the wine at our tasting with Marc last winter.
First produced in 2008, this benchmark of great Muscadet is made from a three hectare parcel of old massale-selecton vines (all over 60 years old, with a high percentage much older) on a slope above the Maine. The bedrock is Granite de Chateau Thebaud, a fissured rock that allows the vines to penetrate deeply, with ideal thin topsoils of clay, with sand and gravel allowing good drainage. Harvesting is by hand, of course, with the grapes transported to the cellar with great care, and brought unbroken to the pneumatic press by gravity. The fermentation proceeds naturally in underground vats for about a month, without the addition of yeasts or sugar, after which the wine spends seven months on its lees without racking. Though we are very happy to see the recent proliferation of single-vineyard and Cru Communal Muscadets, the Pépière Clos des Briords remains one of the finest wines of the region and its superb value should gain it a place in your cellar each year! Please Note: Due to its growing international popularity, allocations of this wine get smaller every year. Though case quantities are currently possible, we urge those interested to not delay their purchase for too long. (Normal case/mixed case discount applies. Arrival Wednesday, 8/3)
The ever-smiling Jo Landron of Domaine de la Louvetrie is a true hero of Loire Valley viticulture! His commitment to organic/biodynamic farming and natural winemaking, despite the historically low prices of Muscadet, is nothing short of inspiring. Like the Pépière Clos des Briords, Jo's cuvée "le Fief du Breil" is consistently one of the finest Muscadet. It comes from a 6 hectare vineyard, formerly a baronial estate surrounded by walls and forests, situated on a south-facing slope above the Sèvre river. The soil is clay and silica with quartz stones on a subsoil of orthogneiss. The current vintage is 2013 which is developing nicely with a few years in the bottle and will age gracefully for ten years or more. We are also proud to feauture two other superb single-vineyard wines from Louvetrie, "Les Houx" and "Amphibolite." Don't be alarmed at the low prices of these wines - they are unique and complex expressions of the fascinating terroirs of the region and are particularly delicious and refreshing during these hot summer months. "Les Houx" is from a vineyard on clay and sand over a sub-soil of gneiss, rich in iron and quartz and "Amphibolite," named after the mineral laden stones prevalent over the gneiss bedrock, is a light and scintillating Muscadet - it's the number one choice for oysters in restaurants all over France!
We would like to remind you of two more great Muscadet, from Domaine Luneau-Papin and Domaine de l'Ecu. First, the Luneau-Papin "Cuvée Les Pierres Blanches," from a small "clos" in La Chappelle Heulin with 55 to 60 year-old vines on a terroir of gneiss with quartz stones - it's a superb and silky wine that's rarely available in the US, to enjoy over the next five to eight years. And of course the Guy Bossard and Fred van Herck Domaine L'Ecu "Cuvée Granite" belongs on any list of great Muscadet - it was perhaps the first single-vineyard, terror-designated Muscadet and the 2014 is a great example of this beautiful wine! David Lillie
(First produced in 2008, 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 2015 vintage was a great relief to vignerons in the Loire and elsewhere as generally sunny, dry weather brought an ample harvest with good yields for the first time since 2010. In the words of Remi Branger: "For a description of the 2015 vintage, we had a quite beautiful growing season and dry weather in August (the grapes were lacking a bit of water), then at the end of August we had rain, but a bit too much, and this swelled the grapes. Fortunately the grapes stayed healthy and the harvest was beautiful, on September 10th, with good acidity, but a bit less concentration than in 2014. The 2015 Briords has developed well - personally, I find it quite fine and precise." Fine is a good description for the 2015 Briords. It shows subtle aromas of white fruits - pear and apple, nice ripeness, with wet stone and herbal notes. The palate is predominantly minerals with citrus and stone flavors, dried pear and thyme, with good length, quite focused and very elegant, with a crystalline structure and very firm acidity in the finish. At 12% alcohol, the wine has lovely balance and will drink beautifully young - it should develop the secondary aromas and flavors of mature Muscadet at 5 to 8 years and drink well for another 10 years. Thanks to the team at Pépière for another lovely Clos des Briords!
Since 1984, Marc Ollivier at Domaine de la Pèpiére has been making some of the finest wines in Muscadet Sévre et Maine, always harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts, bringing honor to his superb granite terroirs.Now fully organic, Marc and his new colleagues Rémi Branger and Gwäenelle Croix are making many superb special cuvées from their different parcels but their "basic" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine is still a great wine and a sensational value. Sourced from vines on granite of Chateau Thébaud and Clisson with topsoils of clay and gravel, this first bottling from younger vines is always a bit more aromatic and fruit-forward than the later versions. The 2015 benefits from the sunny condions of this excellent vintage and shows subtle aromas of lime-flower, citrus, ripe pear, wet stone and fresh herbs. The palate is dense with white fruits, lemon and stone with hints of anise backed by firm citrusy acids and mineral flavors - really refreshing and delicious. Perfect wih oysters of course and great with any mild-flavored fish and roast chicken as well. Bravo to Marc, Rémi and Gwaenelle! This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Since 1984, Marc Ollivier at Domaine de la Pèpiére has been making some of the finest wines in Muscadet Sévre et Maine, always harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts, bringing honor to his superb granite terroirs.Now fully organic, Marc and his new colleagues Rémi Branger and Gwäenelle Croix are making many superb special cuvées from their different parcels but their "basic" Muscadet Sèvre et Maine is still a great wine and a sensational value. Sourced from vines on granite of Chateau Thébaud and Clisson with topsoils of clay and gravel, this first bottling from younger vines is always a bit more aromatic and fruit-forward than the later versions. The 2015 benefits from the sunny condions of this excellent vintage and shows subtle aromas of lime-flower, citrus, ripe pear, wet stone and fresh herbs. The palate is dense with white fruits, lemon and stone with hints of anise backed by firm citrusy acids and mineral flavors - really refreshing and delicious. Perfect wih oysters of course and great with any mild-flavored fish and roast chicken as well. Bravo to Marc, Rémi and Gwaenelle!
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Domaine de la Pépière has produced this lovely Cru Communal, in the new appellation Muscadet Monnières-Saint Fiacre from old vines on gneiss terroir with topsoils of sand and gravel, formerly part of the Cuvée Eden and Gras Moutons. Slow two month fermentation followed by 24 months of aging on the lees. This is a scintillating Muscadet from a somewhat difficult year, showing aromas of bitter lemon, apple, pear, white pepper and herbs. The palate is austere and bright with stone, citrus and white fruits that continue on the mineral-infused finish. This is a great success for the vintage and is a perfect, and very elegant accompaniment to oysters, grilled fish and baked cod and flounder or any mild fish you can name, roast chicken too! Even better, cellar this wine for ten or more years to reveal its depth and complexity.
The Domaine de la Pépière Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" comes from old vines on a beautiful vineyard sloping down towards the river. The granite here is fissured and permeable by the vine roots which have access to water during dry spells and absorb micro-nutrients along the way. 2009 and 2010 here were among the best of the vintage in Muscadet and the 2012 is outstanding as well from this somewhat difficult low-yielding vintage. More austere than the previous vintages, the 2012 shows subtle aromas of dried pear, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant. The palate has excellent weight and concentration with firm acidity, without the forward fruit of the 2009 - very tight and mineral in style with terrific length. Fabulous served now with oysters, ceviche of cod, flounder and sole, and grilled fish, This should age beautifully for 20 years and more. Highly recommended. Tasted again in December of 2016, this beautiful Muscadet is beginning to open up a bit, with lovely fruit appearing in the aromas and palate, really drinking well, though obviously a wine that will benefit from another five years of aging. In 2018 the wine is singing and will be a treat on Thanksgiving!
Jo Landron's Fief du Breil is from a beautiful walled vineyard sloping towards the Sèvre, with clay, sand and quartz stones over a bedrock of orthogneiss. The vines average 40 to 50 years of age, the vineyard is certified organic and biodynamic and gives very low yields. Always one of our favorite Muscadets, even in the difficult 2013 vintage, the wine shows lovely aromas of citrus, pear and almond with hints of fresh herbs and wet stone. The palate shows elegant white fruits and mineral flavors with lemon peel, white pepper and a long stony finish. Drink now with oysters, grilled fish and roast chicken, or hold, not for long-term cellaring but it will open up nicely over the next ten years. (Importer's close-out, sorry no further inventory.)
A great Muscadet by Jo Landron coming from an organic vineyard on clay and sand over a sub-soil of gneiss, rich in iron and quartz and quite high in acidity. Kept on the lees for 12 months. Aromas of stone and saline minerals, lime-flower, citrus and dried pear, ripe melon, anise and sea-air, hints of licorice, white fruits and citrus on the palate with bracing acids. Quite dense and long with an enormously rich expression of mineral salts in the finish. This will drink well young, with grilled or steamed fish and shellfish but also with crab, langoustines and lobster, especially after a few years of aging. Did we say that the price is ridiculously, even embarrassingly low, as Landron's great work deserves a much higher price...
Amphibolite - a metamorphic stone generally formed from gabbro or basalt, with a high concentration of iron and magnesium, prevalent in the vineyard, over a bedrock of gneiss. The wine from this vineyard is low in alcohol (normally about 11%) and high in acidity and mineral salts. Bottled after 4 months sur-lie aging and retaining a bit of CO2 from the fermentation, the Cuvée Amphibolite is refreshing, stimulating and a perfect complement to shellfish and light seafood dishes. In 2015 the wine is lovely, with subtle aromas of citrus, almond and white fruits; the palate is bone dry but round and refeshing with stone and white fruits, showing a bit more density and alcohol than normal. Enjoy over the next 12 months with some Wellfleet oysters!.
From a small "clos" in La Chappelle Heulin with 55 to 60 year-old vines on a terroir of gneiss with quartz stones. We're happy to have the "Pierres Blanches" back again - it's a small production from Luneau-Papin that rarely makes its way to the US. The 2014 shows beautiful pear and apple aromas with citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and refreshing with lovely white fruits, stone and lemon flavors blending together - a bit rounder and softer than the granite based "L d'Or." This is quite delicious now or over the next five years, served with any mild-flavored fish or chicken dish, quiches, goat cheeses and much more.
The Domaine de l'Ecu "Granite" is always among the greatest of Muscadets and a testament to the heroic efforts of Guy Bossard - certified organic in 1975 and Biodynamic in 1998. Frequently a bit musty and closed in it's youth, the 2014 Granite shows surprisingly ripe aromas of dried pear, lime-flower, candied almond, citrus and stone. (On day two, the aromas have become more elegant, complex and quite beautiful) There is ample cool acidity on the palate framing the complex white fruits, stone, citrus and almond flavors that continue on the long very mineral finish. This is a great vintage for Granite - absolutely wonderful now and over the next fifteen years or more...