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It's a difficult period in Muscadet as most growers lost 50% to 90% of their crop in 2016 due to a terrible frost after a very warm early spring, with many producers suffering similar losses in 2017. Most estates were obliged to buy fruit and produced small quantities of wine in 2016, a terrible economic hardship for the growers as prices in the region are very low and most estates have no stock of previous vintages to soften the blow. At Domaine de la Pépière, Marc, Remi and Gwénaëlle have fashioned a delicious 2016 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie "La Pépie" including grapes normally in their best cuvées such as "Clisson," "Clos des Morines," and "Monnières Saint-Fiacre," as well as fruit purchased and harvested by the Pépière team from neighboring parcels. The wine is outstanding - it's a well structured, very classic Muscadet, reflecting the primarily granite terroirs of its origins. It will be a perfect, refreshing accompaniment to oysters, seafood and chicken dishes this summer and fall. Since his first vintage in 1984, Marc Ollivier has produced wines that show the outstanding potential in the terroirs of Muscadet, and Domaine de la Pépière is now one of the leading domains of the Loire Valley. We're proud to have the 2016 "La Pépie" stacked on the floor at Chambers Street!
While our supply of Muscadet will be diminished in the months to come, we are still able to offer a number of wines from the excellent 2015 vintage as well as a few older wines from Domaine de la Louvetrie and Domaine Luneau-Papin. 2009 was a ripe, relatively low acid vintage, but Jo Landron at Louvetrie and Pierre Luneau at Luneau-Papin produced outstanding wines due to their exemplary farming and the high percentage of old vines in the Fief du Breil and L D'Or vineyards - they are both outstanding wines and remain reasonably priced. 2010 is a classic vintage with well structured wines that will cellar beautifully - the 2010 Luneau-Papin "L D'Or" is a superb wine that is scintillating in its youth, perhaps best 2020-2030. And though 2015 was a warm vintage producing wines with higher levels of alcohol, the wines are well balanced, with pretty aromatics and good ripeness on the palate while retaining the firm acidity and mineral flavors in the finish that characterize the best Muscadet. Of the 2015s in today's email, the Louvetrie Domaine should be enjoyed over the next year or two but the remaining four wines will drink well over the next five to fifteen years, with a special thumb's up to the superb Domaine de l'Ecu "Granite." Time to stock up!
Domaine de la Pépière lost most of their crop to frost in 2016 but was able to produce this excellent Muscadet using grapes normally reserved for the Clisson, Château Thébaud and Monnières-Saint Fiacre cuvées as well as fruit purchased from neighboring parcels, harvested and selected by Pépière. (This is the only wine from Pépière in 2016 except for a small amount of Clos des Briords and Gras Moutons.) The 2016 La Pépie shows classic Muscadet aromas of pear, citrus peel, almond and stone with a bit of lime-flower. The palate is dense, with nice ripeness, balanced with firm stony acidity, with flavors of dried pear, citrus, stone and white pepper and finishing with good length of citrusy acids and saline minerals. This is a serious Muscadet that echos the characteristics of the estate's top cuvées. The domaine lost almost 85% of the crop in 2016, but the small amount of wine they did produce is lovely. Our thanks to Marc, Remi and Gwènaëlle for this delicious and well-priced Muscadet.
From 45+ year-old vines in a 2.5 hectare parcel on micaschistes, in the village of Le Landreau. 2015 is a great vintage for the Luneau-Papin "Clos des Allées," showing subtle aromas of lemon, pear, stone, fines herbes and sea spray. The palate has a nice citrusy brightness followed by brisk stone and mineral flavors with white fruits, citrus with nice concentration and a silky texture. Lovely finish with pear, citrus and bitter mineral notes - this is a very refreshing and stylish Muscadet that will be perfect with oysters, grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses.
2015 is another very good vintage for the Luneau-Papin "L" d'Or, lacking the crunch of the 2014 perhaps, but still a very stylish Muscadet for current drinking and medium-term aging as well. The wine shows complex aromas including pear, citrus and exotic fruit with anise and herbs. The palate is crystalline and long with stone and white fruits, really delicious, with a nice bit of crisp, bitter acidity in the finish. A good candidate for aging, this is Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Chateau Thebaud. Vintages going back to 1989 of the L d'Or are superb now, but this very young 2015 would be perfect today with a filet of sole. DL
Vera Cruz is a new cuvée from Luneau-Papin, from 40 year-old vines on a terroir of schistes and gneiss "a deux micas" in Vallet, farmed with organic and biodynamic methods. A wine of terroir rather than fruit, even in the ripe 2015 vintage, the wine shows elegant aromas of pear, grilled almond, stone and citrus. The palate is dense and very mineral, showing more flavor of earth than fruit, with a lovely finish of stone, minerals and white fruit that coats the palate. Perfect now with fine oysters, grilled dorade, sole, cod and scallops with lemon. Or cellar - this wine should be very interesting in 5 to 15 years. Label inspired by Mondrian and the varied terroirs of Muscadet. DL
Guy Bossard is one of the heroes of French viticulture, having rejected modern chemical farming upon assuming the family estate, becoming certified organic in 1972, then progressing to Biodynamic farming in 1996. And this in a region where there was little recognition or financial reward for his intense work and the higher quality of his wines. Happily, Guy has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and is still producing superb wines, while in semi-retirement, with his new associate Fred Niger Van Herck. The Domaine de l'Ecu 2015 "Granite" is particularly outstanding. As usual with this cuvée it's a bit musty and closed when first opened — decanting is advised — followed by aromas of lemon peel, dried pear, wet stone and lime-flower with hints of almond and petrol. The palate is dense and very long in this ripe vintage with intense stony flavors, pear, citrus and anis. A bit more open and accessible than some vintages of Granite but with ample structure and acidity for aging — perhaps best 2020 to 2029. Serve this summer with oysters, cod and sole, then with richer dishes after the wine matures. Bravo to Guy and Fred!
The vineyards for the Cuvée Domaine are situated on a high plateau with varied soils of sandy clay with amphibolite stones or quartz with subsoils mostly of gneiss, certified organic, with Biodynamic methods. This Spring bottling received 6 months of sur-lie aging and shows the ripeness and balance of 2015, somewhat in the style of 2004. Quite dense with aromas of citrus and white fruits with stone and floral notes. The palate shows pear and stone with citrus and white pepper with firm acidity, quite refreshing. This will accompany shellfish, sushi and mild fish dishes and is full and round enough to enjoy on it's own, or with chicken and other light meals. It's a sensational value!
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.)
Andre-Michel Bregeon is one of the heros of Muscadet, having continued with hand-harvesting and natural fermentations while everyone else went to machines and chemicals, and is partly responsible for the return to quality of this potentially great region. His last vintage is 2011, as he is now in semi-retirement and the estate is directed by the very capable Fred Lailler. The 2011 Muscadet Reserve spent 30 months sur lie and is a beautiful wine! The wine shows superb, conplex aromas typical of the Gabbro soils, with lemon oil, almond, pear, powdered stone and mushroom. The palate is dense and very mineral with pear, citrus, almond and herbal flavors that continue on the long finish with firm acidity, white fruits and stone. This is a unique and distinctive Muscadet that will drink beautifully over the next ten to fifteen years. Three cheers for Michel Bregeon!!! DL
A beautiful L d'Or that shows the remarkable combination of ripeness, balance and great acidity in the 2010 vintage. This wine was surprisingly open and aromatic when tasted in January 2012 but possessed of perfect acidity and loads of saline mineral flavors, reminding us of 2002.
Another superb vintage for the Luneau-Papin "L" d'Or. It's a bit rounder and riper than the 2007 perhaps, but with more density of fruit and the acidity and structure to age beautifully. (Somewhat similar in style to the 2009 Pépière Chateau-Thébaud, which also combined the richness of the vintage with outstanding balance and acidity) This is drinking well now with complex aromas including citrus and exotic fruit with anise and herbs. The palate is silky and long with stone and white fruits, really delicious and with great structure for a 2009. A good candidate for aging, this seems like a somewhat denser and riper version of the 1995.This is Luneau-Papin's only cuvee on a granite subsoil (granit a deux micas) having a different character than the granite soils in Clisson or Chateau Thebaud. DL
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 Pépière 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!
The Luneau-Papin "L D"Or" is from old vines in a hillside parcel on a south-facing slope with granite subsoil. This is always one of the most elegant and age-worthy Muscadets, which drinks beautifully as a somewhat austere young wine, and opens up gracefully over its 20 to 30 year lifespan. The 2000 shows subtle, quite complex aromas of pear, stone, melon, almond, crême brulée and honeysuckle . The palate shows a firm, youthful structure with citrusy acidity balancing ripe pear, stone and mineral flavors with almond and anise. While not possessing the depth and intensity of the best vintages, this is a lovely 16+ year-old wine that will continue to develop over the next ten years. (Serve cool, not too cold!)