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For more than 25 years we have had the great pleasure of working with Jo Landron of the Domaine de la Louvetrie, not to mention drinking his superb Muscadets on a regular basis. Jo is one of the heroes of Loire Valley viticulture and has been a leader in the resurgence of quality in Muscadet by his example of converting to organic agriculture, hand-harvesting, wild yeast fermentations and terroir specific, single-vineyard bottlings. His enormous effort and engaging personality have been an inspiration to the region and have helped lead the way to the new Cru Communal classifications, finally bringing recognition to the potential of Muscadet. Each year his "Le Fief du Breil" is one of the finest wines of the region - it's 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, with some much older; the vineyard is certified organic and biodynamic, and gives very low yields. In the best vintages this wine will age beautfully for more than twenty years, evolving into a wonderfully complex mature wine that will accompany the most elegant of seafood dishes and cheeses. We are very grateful to Jo for releasing a small quantity of our two favorite recent vintages, 2004 and 2009, direct from his cellar. These are both superb wines for current drinking, or for further aging, 6 btl maximum per person, please. Another favorite from Domaine Louvetrie is from a single parcel called "Les Houx," with shallow sandy clay soils, rich with silica, quartz and iron, over a bedrock of gneiss and clay, with a very low pH (high acidity). The 2015 "Les Houx" has just arrived - this very warm vintage has given us a riper and rounder version of this excellent Muscadet which will drink beautifully over the next few years. (Please see the great artcle about Jo Landron on Wineterroirs.com.) And no article about Muscadet would be complete without a few wines from Domaine de la Pépière. We particularly love their 2012 Château Thébaud "Clos des Morines" - this young wine spent three years on the lees and is a great candidate for long-term cellaring.
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
For those who want a dryer style wine on Thanksgiving, this lovely Muscadet is opening up nicely and has the right weight and density to match the turkey and sides. (And the superb new 2015 Luneau-Papin "Vera Cruz" would be lovely as well) 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 outstnding 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, best perhaps 2022 - 2030.
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.)
The last shipment of this beautiful Muscadet has finally arrived - we're very happy to have this lovely wine and sensational value back in stock! Domaine Louvetrie "Les Houx" (formerly known as "Hermine D'Or") is from a great parcel of thin sandy clay soils, rich with silica, quartz and iron, over a bedrock of gneiss and clay. Kept on the lees for 12 months. Normally one of the most scintillating and mineral of Muscadet, the 2015 is riper and rounder but equally delicious in a fuller-bodied more forward style. The wine shows lovely aromas of ripe pear, stone and anise that open nicely with aeration. The palate is round and supple but framed in firm acidity with ripe white fruits, citrus, stone and licorice and there's a nice mineral kick in the finish. Delicious now, this will develop nicely over the next few years, and will accompany oysters and grilled seafood, from flounder to monkfish, roast chicken and mild cheeses. 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!